US singer Robert Sylvester Kelly also know as R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his celeb image and status to sexually abuse children and women.
The R&B artist, currently 55, was convicted last September in New York for sex trafficking crimes and racketeering.
He was facing years of allegations and the judge said he had an “indifference to human suffering.”
Lawyers said that R. Kelly will appeal to the ruling.
A lot of women took the stand to confront R. Kelly for the atrocities he had done in the past.
One woman said “I literally wished I would die because of how you made me feel.”
Another woman, Angela, called the singer a Pied Piper who “grew in wickedness” with every new victim, while others who choose to stay incognito testified he had broken and shattered their spirits.
Dressed in dark glasses, Kelly didn’t make any statement and had no reaction when the verdict was handed down.
US District Judge Ann Donnelly said that R. Kelly used sex as a weapon by forcing his victims to do dreadful things and passing on STD’s.
“You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,” she said.
R. Kelly, known for his songs I Believe I Can Fly, Ignition, and many hits over the years, used his influence to lure women and abuse them sexually for over two decades.
The court also heard how he trafficked women between US and different states, assisted by managers, security guards and other “paid” members of his malevolent circle.
The court also heard that R. Kelly tried to marry singer Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old in 1994, seven years before the star singer died in a plane crash. The forged certificated listed Aaliyah as having 18 years old back at that time. The marriage was annulled months later.
Jovante Cunningham who was a former backup singer for R. Kelly said she never dreamed this day would come.
“There wasn’t a day in my life up until this moment that I actually believed that the judicial system would come through for black and brown girls,” she told reporters.
“I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors and very pleased with the outcome.”
Federal prosecutors wanted a higher sentenced for R. Kelly, given all the crimes he committed through the decades. They said they feel “the need to protect the public from further crimes”.
His lawyers didn’t agree thou. They said 10 years should be handed down for R. Kelly, or less.
His lawyers created an image of R. Kelly as growing up in a poor environment and witness to domestic violence and sexual abuse from a very young age.
They said he was “devastated” by the sentence and planned to appeal.
Lizzette Martinez, who met the star when she was 17, said that there were “so many things he could have done to stop himself.”
“He had all the resources; we don’t have resources like that. He could have gotten help,” she told BBC News.
She said he was avoiding justice for so many years during his crimes due to the “power of celebrity”.
“I believe that he was just making so much money for so many powerful people that they protected him.”
Kelly has been in custody since he was indicted by federal prosecutors in New York and Chicago in July back in 2019.
His time behind bars was not easy, including a beating from an inmate in 2020 and battling with Covid-19 earlier this year.
The star will still face further legal action in August. This time in Chicago on child sex images and obstruction charges.
He is also due to face sex abuse charges in courts in Illinois and Minnesota.