R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison in a New York court on Wednesday.
The veteran singer had been found guilty in September on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, a federal law addressing sex trafficking.
He was accused over the years of grooming and preying upon very young women, 11 of whom testified during his 2021 trial… often through tears.
At the time, they delved into the sexual, emotional, physical, and verbal abuse the artist inflicted upon them over the years.
Overall, 45 people testified at the trial for the government.
R. Kelly — one of the most successful R&B singers of the 1990s and early 2000s — was then found guilty of all nine counts against him.
The six-week trial garnered national attention and revealed how R. Kelly had used employees and intermediaries to lure fans and aspiring singers into sexually abusive and controlling conditions.
He was even found to have locked them in rooms without food or access to a bathroom for days.
Due to the heinous nature of his crimes, along with his lack of remorse, prosecutors asked in June for a minimum of 25 years behind bars for Kelly.
On Wednesday, Judge Ann M. Donnelly said in court that she hoped this sentence would serve as a “deterrent” to Kelly and others who have an inclination to commit these sort of acts.
“You had a system in place that lured young people into your orbit, and then you took over their lives,” the judge said before delivering the sentence.
“You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
Prior to the 30 years being handed out, R. Kelly said stoically while various women read their victim impact statements in court.
The first victim to do so was a woman named Angela, who addressed the singer directly and said:
“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness. You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.
“We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were. pray that god reaches your soul.”
Lizette Martinez said in her impact statement:
“I do not know how to put a price on all I’ve gone through. I am now 45, a mother and I struggle with mental health.”
Looking right at Kelly, who did not return her stare, she added:
“Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.”
Another woman identified herself Stephanie and said she was 17 when Kelly began abusing her and stated for all to hear:
“What you did has left a permanent stain on my life I’ll never be able to wash away. Now it’s your turn to have your freedom taken from you.”
For his part, Kelly never took the stand during his trial.
After the sentencing Kelly will likely be transferred to Chicago… where he faces an August trial on child pornography and obstruction charges.
There’s a very good chance he’ll die behind bars.