Singer R. Kelly Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Sexual Exploitation Of A Child And Sex Trafficking

R&B singer and now convicted sex offender, R. Kelly has been sentenced to serve 30 years in federal prison for his crimes perpetrated against his victims over the decades.

According to details released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York, Robert Kelly was convicted of all counts by a federal jury in Brooklyn, which included bribery, sexual exploitation of a child, forced labor, racketeering and violating the Mann Act – a sex trafficking law.

The verdict was announced by Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI).

“Today’s guilty verdict forever brands R. Kelly as a predator, who used his fame and fortune to prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis.  

“A predator who used his inner circle to ensnare underage teenage girls, and young women and men, for decades, in a sordid web of sex abuse, exploitation and degradation.   To the victims in this case, your voices were heard, and justice was finally served. We hope that today’s verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims.”  

“Robert Kelly is a serial sexual predator who used his fame and musical tours as his personal hunting grounds to find his victims,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Fitzhugh.  

“Mr. Kelly ran a criminal enterprise whose mission was to serve his sexual gratification by setting up a complex organization of enablers and handlers.  When his victims tried to escape, Mr. Kelly and his accomplices silenced them through bribery, intimidation, and physical violence.  The brave survivors who overcame Mr. Kelly’s abuse deserve our upmost respect for telling their stories and bringing an end to his 30-year reign of terror over the young and vulnerable.”

The statement available on the Justice Department website further reads:

As proven at trial, for nearly three decades, Kelly was the leader of a criminal enterprise (“the Enterprise”) consisting of himself and an entourage of individuals who served as managers, bodyguards, accountants, drivers, personal assistants and runners for the defendant.  As the leader of the Enterprise, Kelly used his fame to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with him.  Kelly identified these girls and women at concerts, and then directed members of the Enterprise to escort them backstage following his musical performances.  Kelly exchanged contact information with girls and women so that he and other members of the Enterprise could arrange travel and lodging for them to visit Kelly and engage in the charged illegal sexual conduct.  

The evidence at trial included the testimony of 45 government witnesses, including more than 10 victims, five of whom are named in the superseding indictment, testimony from employees of the defendant, text messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, phone and travel records, DNA evidence and expert witnesses. 

Kelly issued rules that many of his sexual partners were required to follow, including that the women and girls were to call him “Daddy”; they were not permitted to leave their rooms to eat or visit the bathroom without receiving his permission; they were required to wear baggy clothing when not accompanying Kelly to an event; and they were directed to keep their heads down and not look at or speak to other men.  Kelly also isolated the women and girls from their friends and family and made them dependent on him for their financial well-being.  He required the victims to engage in sex with him and others and recorded many of the sexual encounters.

Lizzette Martinez, one of Kelly’s accusers, was a 17-year-old singer when she met Kelly and reacted to his sentencing.

“Honestly, I cried. I just never thought that anyone was really going to care for us in our stories. It took so long. For 30 years he’s been doing it. And I just– I just felt lighter, actually. I felt a lot lighter,” Martinez told “ABC News Live.”

“I was able to tell him exactly what he did to me and to tell the judge and to be heard and listened… it’s the right sentence for him,” she added.


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