For leveraging his celebrity to sexually assault children and women, US musician R. Kelly was given a 30-year prison term.
The R&B musician, 55, was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking offences in New York last September.
The judge stated on Wednesday that he had a “indifference to human pain” after years of accusations against him.
Robert Sylvester Kelly, the singer’s real name, says he will appeal, according to his attorneys.
A few women took the witness stand to face Kelly prior to his punishment.
A woman only known as Angela referred to the performer as a Pied Piper who “increased in evil” with each new victim, while other unnamed witnesses claimed he had crushed their spirits.
One said, “You literally made me want to die from the way you made me feel.”
Kelly, who was wearing prison khakis and dark glasses, chose not to respond to the verdict and made no comment of his own.
The superstar, according to US District Judge Ann Donnelly, had used sex as a weapon, compelling his victims to do awful things and burdening them with terminal illnesses.
She remarked, “You taught them that love is enslavement and brutality.
The court heard testimony about how Kelly, who is best known for the hit songs I Believe I Can Fly and Ignition, used his position to seduce women and children over the course of two decades.
At his six-week trial in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn jury heard testimony about how he trafficked women between various US states with the help of managers, security personnel, and other members of his entourage.
The court also learned how, in 1994, when Kelly was 15 years old and seven years before the singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash, she had gotten marriage licenses in violation of the law.
Aaliyah’s age was given as 18 on the certificate at the time it was leaked. A few months later, the marriage was dissolved.
Given the nature of Kelly’s crimes and “the need to safeguard the public from further crimes,” federal prosecutors had suggested that he get a sentence of at least 25 years in prison.
However, his attorneys requested a sentence of 10 years or less, which is the mandatory minimum for his crime.
Since July 2019, when he was charged by federal prosecutors in Chicago and New York, Kelly has been detained.
His three years in prison have been dramatic, with a fight with Covid-19 earlier this year and a beating by a fellow prisoner in 2020.
In August, the singer will go on trial once more—this time in Chicago—on allegations of obstruction and child sex imagery.
He will also be charged with sexual abuse in courts in Minnesota and Illinois.