R. Kelly's Prison Sentence Has Finally Been Revealed

It feels like the end of a two-decade-plus downward battle for R. Kelly. The singer, after being exonerated of child pornography charges in 2008, was convicted on major sexual abuse charges in September 2021, per The New York Times. A jury found the "Ignition" crooner guilty on one count of racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, an anti-sex-trafficking law, per The Washington Post. This comes after 25 years of accusations from women and underage girls. "No one deserves what they experienced at his hands or the threats and harassment they faced in telling the truth about what happened to them," Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the acting Brooklyn U.S. attorney, told the media after the verdict, according to NYT. 

In her closing argument prior to deliberation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes had described Kelly as using his fame and musical empire "to target, groom and exploit girls, boys and women," per CNN. Immediately following his conviction, Kelly was placed on suicide watch. Prosecutors believed, per TMZ, that Kelly deserved a sentence "in excess of 25 years" for the nature and extent of his crimes. 

Now in June, we finally have the definitive answer to the singer's fate. 

R. Kelly faced his accusers before severe sentencing

R. Kelly has gone from songbird to jailbird. The singer was sentenced on June 29 to 30 years in prison on charges of sexually abusing multiple women and underage girls, per the New York Post. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly handed down the sentencing in Brooklyn federal court, following a hearing during which several survivors spoke at length. Among those reading victim impact statements prior to sentencing was a woman named Angela, who told Kelly in court, per The New York Times, "You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification. We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were."

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, which pushed for a sentence of more than 25 years, had argued to Donnelly that Kelly's "decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to confirm his conduct ... to the structures of the law," also calling the singer's behavior "predatory" and "humiliating."

Meanwhile, Kelly's lawyer Jennifer Bonjean had asked Donnelly to only consider his convicted charges, and not base sentencing "on inflamed emotions," per NYT. She noted Kelly's history of goodwill with his fans, calling him "widely accepted as a musical genius."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).