For leveraging his celebrity status 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 offenses in New York last September.
The judge stated on Wednesday that he had an “indifference to human suffering” 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 sentencing.
A woman only known as Angela referred to the performer as a Pied Piper who “grew in wickedness” 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 violence.”
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.
Given the seriousness of Kelly’s crimes and “the need to protect the public from further crimes,” federal prosecutors had suggested that he receive 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 conviction.
They portrayed Kelly as growing up in a violent home and being subjected to sexual abuse at a young age.
They claimed that he would appeal because he was “devastated” by the verdict.
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 eventful, 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 charges of child sex images and obstruction.
He will also be charged with sexual abuse in courts in Minnesota and Illinois.