R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the long-awaited conclusion of his federal sex trafficking case in New York.
Last September, a jury found the disgraced singer guilty of all counts, which included one charge of racketeering related to the sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, and forced labor, as well as eight charges of violating the Mann Act, which outlaws the transportation of a person across state lines for illegal sexual activity.
Addressing the court, Judge Ann M. Donnelly said of the long sentence, “I would have imposed [it] regardless of the guidelines.” According to The New York Times, she spent several minutes revisiting allegations leveled against Kelly, which saw nine women and two men testify that the singer had tormented them with sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.
Kelly was accused not only of using his position and fame to lure potential victims, but also of wielding a wide network of enablers and other yes-men to control his victim’s lives while shielding himself from consequences. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” Judge Donnelly said. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
Charges of sexual misconduct have dogged Kelly since the mid-90s, from the time of his illegal marriage to a then-15-year-old Aaliyah. He was indicted on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2002, but received an acquittal in 2008. That trial remains controversial, and Kelly and two of his associates are currently facing charges in Illinois of bribing and intimidating witnesses in the case.