US singer R. Kelly was sentenced to thirty years in prison after charges were levied against him for exploiting his star status in luring women and underage girls for sex crimes. US District Judge Ann Donnelly handed out the jail sentence to the 55-year-old R&B singer at the Brooklyn Federal Court, who was first convicted last September after a trial that lasted five and a half weeks. During the trial, accusations dating back to the early 2000s were brought to light during the #MeTo after women named him as one among the many prominent men for sexual misbehavioro movement.
On Wednesday, several women had testified against Kelly and opened up on how he gave them assurances in coaching them and also gain popularity in the music industry while subjecting them to sexual misconduct and physical abuse. A woman identified as Jane Doe No 2 said that the abuse had caused mental problems that still persist for herself and many other women. She said, "As a teenager, I didn’t know how to say no to R Kelly when he asked me to perform oral sex on him." Pausing midway into her statement, the woman glanced at the singer and asked him, "Do you remember that?"
Kelly, who goes by his full name Robert Sylvester Kelly, has denied the allegations of the sexual crimes and was seen in a black face mask and beige prison attire during the hearing on Wednesday. He was convicted on nine criminal charges, including one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits people being transported across state lines for prostitution.
During the trial, prosecutors had appealed for a prison sentence of more than 25 years for R. Kelly, stating that he had exhibited a "callous disregard" for the victims while showing no regret for his actions. In their defense, the singer's lawyers urged that he did not deserve more than 10 years jail sentence, which is the mandatory minimum while asserting that being a child abuse victim himself, might be the reason for his "hypersexuality" as an adult, and also informed the court that he was no longer a threat to anyone. Kelly has been serving jail time since July 2019 and is expected to be transported to a prison in Chicago, where he will undergo a trial in August in federal court for child pornography and obstruction charges.