R Kelly’s victims have spoken out after the singer was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking.
Following a six-week trial in Brooklyn, Kelly, 55, was found guilty on all nine counts against him, including multiple counts of racketeering, with the charges relating to bribery and forced labour, by a jury in September last year.
Kelly – who denied all charges – was also found in violation of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.
The musician was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a US federal court in New York for masterminding an scheme to sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children.
Before the sentence was handed down, several of Kelly’s victims spoke in the courtroom, with one branding him the ‘pied piper of R&B’.
The same victim, who used the psuedonym Angela, told reporters after the sentencing: ‘I started this journey 30 years ago, I was 14 years old when I encountered Robert Sylvester Kelly.
‘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.
‘I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors and very pleased with the outcome.
’30 years [is how long] that he did this and 30 years is what he got.’
Lizzette Martinez, who also read an impact statement in court under the pseudonym Jane Doe, said she was pleased with the sentence but ‘personally didn’t think it was enough’.
‘Today was a very special but hard day for us,’ she said.
‘This happened to me a very long time ago, I was 17 them and I am 45 today.
‘I never thought I’d see him be held accountable, the atrocious things he did to children.
‘I don’t know what else to say, except that I’m grateful.
‘I am grateful that Robert Sylvester Kelly is away and will stay away and will not be able to harm anyone else.
Asked if 30 years was a long enough sentence, Ms Martinez replied: ‘I personally don’t think it’s enough but I’m pleased with it.’
Kelly did not appear to react as the sentence was passed, with Judge Ann Donnelly saying during sentencing that he had used his ‘minions’ to ‘lure young fans into your orbit’.
She added that he had taught his victims ‘that love is enslavement and violence’.
Judge Donnelly told Kelly: ‘Sentencing another human being is probably the most difficult thing a judge has to do.
‘It is fair to say, Mr Kelly, that you are a person that had some great advantage, you had worldwide fame and celebrity, untold money.
“Using your status and celebrity… you had a system of people that you used to lure young fans into your orbit.
‘Having your minions troll for young people at the mall… handing out your phone number… for the opportunity to meet R Kelly.
‘You fancied yourself a genius that can do “whatever I want because of what I give to the world.”‘
The court heard victim impact statements from seven women, presented anonymously to the court as Jane Does, who detailed Kelly’s ‘God-like complex’ and how he used his ‘fame and power’ to entice his victims.
The woman using the pseudonym Angela told him: ‘The pied piper of R&B, both in music and in technique and in approach.
‘Success and love… you presented these glittering gems as if they were gold.
‘With every addition of a new victim you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which soon became the breeding ground for your God-like complex.
‘You were doing, saying and encouraging despicable things that no one should be doing.
‘We reclaim our names from beneath the shadows of your afflicted trauma.’
Kelly’s conviction carried a minimum sentence of 10 years, with Federal prosecutors asking for a sentence ‘in excess of 25 years’, while the singer’s own lawyers asked he receive under 10.