Content warning: This story contains mentions of sexual abuse and exploitation of a child.
R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on June 29, 2022. Kelly was found guilty in 2021 of charges including sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering and bribery.
In the 2022 trial, the jury found that the prosecutors proved “Kelly was at the head of a criminal conspiracy to recruit and coerce girls, boys and women into sex,” according to NPR.
This wasn’t the first time R. Kelly has had a trial for similar accusations. In 2008, Kelly stood trial for 14 counts of child pornography but was acquitted.
Kelly’s 30-year sentence was probably something so relieving for his victims. They probably felt such a relief knowing that he was finally held accountable for all those horrible things he did to them. Most of his victims were young girls and teens.
These girls were in their formative years and some of them would do anything to become famous and popular. He took advantage of their naïveté and lured them, tricking them into his trap. He promised them fame, he promised them that he would make something big out of them. But it never happened, he just took advantage of them.
In his 2008 trial, R. Kelly threatened the mother of an accuser, and she said he made her fear for her life. But he was eventually let off because the accuser chose to not take the witness stand to confirm that she was the girl in the video.
In the 2022 trial, a woman testified she was abused by him hundreds of times before she was 18 and said it was her in a videotape that was focused on in his 2008 child pornography trial when he was acquitted.
She said she was 14 at the time, and he was about 30. At 13, she just wanted him to be her godfather, she told jurors. He would call her and say sexual things to her and by 15, she and he began having sexual intercourse, she told jurors. He would tell her what to do and in one video he handed her money to make it seem like she was a prostitute.
She silently lived with this trauma into her 20s. For years she kept quiet because she was embarrassed and even worried for Kelly but she decided she “became exhausted living with his lies,” she said to a prosecutor.
R. Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean said he was abused as a child and it deeply affected him. But he just had predatory sexual desires for young girls. He was a predator, and based on his action it seems as if R. Kelly didn’t regret his actions as he refused to testify, just lightly shook his head sometimes.
The abuse R. Kelly went through is in no form a justification for his actions. It’s completely understandable to not be in the right state of mind after going through a trauma. But it’s no excuse for his actions, even after he went to court and was exposed he continued these actions. He could have at least admitted to and come clean, he could have at least given his part of the story, or given out an apology.
All of his actions show that he is a cruel man, a predator, and a hypocrite and he’s not the amazing man he was described to be. He’s a fraud to me, those girls, and the world. All these years I grew up admiring this man only to find out he was a horrible being.
As a child, most of my fond memories are singing his songs with my sister and having the time of our lives. But the betrayal I felt is nothing compared to the nightmare those poor girls went through. I hope nothing but the best for these girls. I hope they no longer live in fear and regret as justice was finally served.