Disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison, months after he was convicted on all nine counts against him in a high-profile sex trafficking case.
U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly handed down the sentence in a Brooklyn courtroom after several of Kelly’s victims angrily addressed the convicted sex offender at the hearing.
“You degraded me, humiliated me and broke my spirit,” said a woman, who went by Jane Doe No. 2. “I wished I would die because of how you degraded me.”
The victim recalled an incident when she was forced to perform oral sex on the music star “after you played basketball, in a car full of your friends.”
“Do you remember that?!” she scolded Kelly, wearing olive colored prison scrubs over a long-sleeve white shirt and a black mask.
“You couldn’t care less. I avoided your name and your songs and suffocated with fear. What you did left a permanent stain on my life.”
The victim stopped speaking momentarily when she saw Kelly speaking to one of his attorneys and sarcastically apologized: “I’m sorry, I don’t want to interrupt your conversation.”
“You are an abuser, shameless, disgusting,” she added. “I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life. I feel sorry for you.”
Kelly, 55, was convicted in September of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, the law that bans transporting people across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
The sentence was more than 25 years federal prosecutors had sought in a letter to Donnelly earlier this month.
In the memo and during the trial, prosecutors argued that Kelly relied on his fame, money and popularity — and a network of people who surrounded him — to carry out his crimes.
“With the aid of his inner circle and over a period of decades, the defendant preyed upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification,” the memo said. “He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account.”Jane Doe No. 1 cried as she addressed the court and said she spent years believing Kelly would never face justice.
“I know there are fans of R. Kelly who don’t believe us,” said the woman, who was 17 when she first met Kelly at a concert in September of 1994.