In a verdict that has sent shockwaves throughout the music industry, R. Kelly, the Grammy-winning R&B singer, has been sentenced to another 20 years behind bars on charges of child pornography.
The 56-year-old artiste learned of his fate in a federal court in Chicago on Thursday, with the judge delivering a sentence that will see him spend 20 years in prison, 19 of which will run concurrently with a previous 30-year sentence.
In a landmark decision, the singer was found guilty in September on multiple charges related to the production of child pornography and enticing a minor into criminal sexual activity. He was acquitted on one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to receive child pornography, as well as two counts of receiving child pornography.
The recent trial in Chicago centers on allegations made by five minors who claim to have suffered abuse at the hands of R&B singer, R. Kelly, during the 1990s. In court, one of the victims, who testified under a pseudonym, described how Kelly allegedly initiated sexual activity with her at just 14 years old, with some of the acts recorded. Kelly has maintained his innocence and entered a plea of not guilty.
Kelly has faced allegations of sexual abuse throughout his career from the 1900s to the 2000s.
Recall that the R&B singer was convicted in a New York federal court on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. He was however sentenced to 30 years in prison. The judge who oversaw that case, Ann Donnelly, had called Kelly’s crimes “calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years.”
The New York trial witnessed a slew of 45 witnesses summoned by the prosecutors, with 11 of them laying bare the details of sexual or physical abuse at the hands of Kelly. The disturbing testimonies also revealed how the R&B artist’s marriage to the young and talented singer Aaliyah was orchestrated in the 1990s when she was merely 15 years old. The marriage was however annulled months later because she was underage.
Similarly, in 2002, an Illinois grand jury charged Kelly with a staggering 21 counts of child pornography. The charges stemmed from a disturbing videotape that purportedly depicted the artist engaging in sexual acts with an underage girl.
Despite facing such grave accusations, Kelly managed to escape legal consequences, as he was ultimately acquitted of all charges six years later. However, according to prosecutor Nadia Donnelly, this verdict did little to curb Kelly’s reckless behavior.
At Kelly’s 2022 sentencing, Donnelly argued that instead of changing his ways after the trial, Kelly merely became more cunning, employing non-disclosure agreements to control and manipulate his victims.