The storm is now over for American Musician R. Kelly after he was jailed for 30 years for sex-related crimes. The singer was accused of using his fame and wealth to lure women and underage girls into having sex with him.
The Judge, Ann Donnelly, said the crime was grievous and not just about sex.
“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence, cruelty, and control. You left in your wake a trail of broken lives,” Donnelly told Kelly.
While reading the judgment, the Judge said R Kelly was sexually abused by close family members and his landlord in his childhood, which could be responsible for the Celebrity’s lifestyle.
“It may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior. It most surely is not an excuse,” the judge said.
Many said the abuse led to mental health problems that persist. The argument was not enough to save the singer, as many victims of his abuse were present in court to testify.
“As a teenager, I didn’t know how to say no to R.Kelly when he asked me to perform oral sex on him,” Jane Doe, one of the victims, told the court. She then paused, looked at Kelly, and asked, “Do you remember that?” He did not reply.
The prosecutor demanded at least a 25 years sentence for the singer because of the nature of the crime. He argued that such a sentence would prevent others from committing such crimes.
On the other hand, the singer’s lawyer said Kelly should not get more than a 10-year sentence.
In the end, he received a 30-year sentence. His lawyer described it as a life sentence.
Reacting to the judgment, Jovante Cunningham, a former backup singer for R. Kelly, said she never knew that the court could come to the rescue of black girls.
“There wasn’t a day in my life up until this moment that I actually believed that the judicial system would come through for black and brown girls,” she said.
“I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors, and very pleased with the outcome,” she added.
Lizzette Martinez, who was 17 when she met Kelly, said the singer had enough resources to prevent his actions, but he refused to get help. She added that his celebrity status had protected him for so long.
“I believe that he was just making so much money for so many powerful people that they protected him,” Lizzette told reporters after the judgment.
“I never thought I would be here to see him be held accountable for the atrocious things that he did to children,” she added.
Breon Peace, a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said the judgment was significant for Kelly’s victims.
“This is a significant outcome for all victims of R. Kelly and especially for the survivors who so bravely testified about the horrific and sadistic abuse they endured,” Breon Peace told reporters.
R.Kelly was sentenced last September on one charge of racketeering and eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law.
SUPPORT FOR R.KELLY
R.Kelly and his supporters did not deny the allegations against the singer. The only thing they asked for was a shorter sentence. Supporters of the singer wrote to the court pleading for a shorter sentence.
One of such letters was written by Diana Copeland. She was a former assistant to the singer who testified as a government witness. In her letter, she said she was writing to support Kelly because it was the “right thing to do.”
“God doesn’t want us to throw humans away,” Copeland wrote to the Court. “If we have the audacity to care for the perpetrators as well as the victims, we can all rise.”
Although Joycelyn Savage was regarded as a victim of R.Kelly by the prosecutors, she supported the singer till the last minute.
She wrote to the court that the government and the media portrayed her as a victim when she has not come to say she is one.
“…it breaks my heart that the government has created a narrative that I’m a victim,” Savage wrote. “I’m a grown woman, and can speak for myself which is why I wanted to provide this letter to the court.”
R.Kelly’s lawyer was not satisfied with the judgment. She argued initially that a ten-year sentence was enough for the singer.
“The lion’s share of the conduct alleged [against] the defendant is decades-old, demonstrating that defendant is not currently a risk to the public,” Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean wrote.
The lawyer said the singer would appeal the judgment. She refused to make further comments, citing the nature of the case.
The singer will face further charges in the State of Chicago on child sex images and obstruction charges. He could face other charges in Illinois and Minnesota