R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex crimes

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex crimes

JUSTICE – The American star fallen from R&BR. Kelly, found guilty in September 2021 in New York of flying for three decades a “system” of sexual exploitation of young peopleincluding teenage girls, was sentenced on Wednesday June 29 to 30 years in prison.

This heavy sentence against the 55-year-old singer was handed down by federal court in Brooklyn, where his trial nine months ago had lifted the veil on sex crimes within the black community in the United States.

The artist, known worldwide for his hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and his 75 million records sold, did not say a word when the verdict was announced. He also remained silent during the six weeks of trial last August and September.

“Only contempt, no remorse”

Federal prosecutors had asked for at least 25 years of criminal imprisonment because of the “danger” that would represent this “criminal, predator” for his victims and for public opinion.

The prosecution castigated Robert Sylvester Kelly, alias R. Kelly, for having “used his notoriety (…) to make young, fragile and voiceless, his prey for the purpose of sexual gratification”.

For prosecutor Breon Peace, R. Kelly had “only contempt for his devastating crimes and no remorse for his behavior”.

R. Kelly will appeal

One of his victims, Lizzette Martinez, 45, told the press of his “gratification” that “Robert Sylvester Kelly has been put aside, that he stays away without being able to hurt anyone anymore” after “the atrocious things inflicted on children”. She was 17 at the time.

R. Kelly, who recounted in his autobiography that he was raped when he was eight, was convicted in September 2021 of all counts: extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping, trafficking, bribery and forced labor, over a period from 1994 to 2018.

He has always denied the facts and his lawyer assured Wednesday that his client was “not a monster” and that he would appeal his conviction.

“Shut up R. Kelly”

This lawsuit is considered a major step in the #MeToo movement: it is the first time that the majority of plaintiffs have been black women and have accused a black artist.

For Kenyette Barnes, the originator of the hashtag #MuteRKelly (“Shut up R. Kelly”) in 2017 – the same year as the global #MeToo movement sparked by the fall of almighty Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – US justice made it possible for the first time to echo “the blood, sweat and tears of black women” that American society did not want to see.

Long before sexual violence was a subject for the media and social networks in the United States, African-American women fought to alert the authorities and public opinion.

Drugged, raped, kidnapped

At trial, nine women and two men accused the artist of sexually abusing them, describing rape, forced drug taking, kidnapping and child pornography.

The debates brought to light R. Kelly’s “system” for attracting very young women and rape them, with the complicity of his entourage, as in a sort of mafia enterprise. Many victims had recounted their meeting with their idol during concerts after which they were slipped a small piece of paper with the singer’s contact details.

He would something for their musical career, they were promised. Instead, they were “indoctrinated” into R. Kelly’s “squalid” milieu, forced into sexual intercourse and kept in this “system” by “coercive measures”, according to the prosecution.

Six women were the main accusers, some of whom claimed to have been drugged to be raped, kidnapped, forced to have abortions and infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

For lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented three of the six plaintiffs, the verdict against R. Kelly – the day after the 20 years in prison pronounced by the Manhattan court against the former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell for sex trafficking of minors – must serve as an example for the relationships that stars can have with their fans.

See also on The HuffPost: Abad, Darmanin… Feminist anger against the “government of shame”

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