R. Kelly has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday (Feb. 23) on three counts of child pornography and three counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity in Chicago. A jury found the disgraced R&B singer-songwriter guilty in September 2022 after he produced three videos of himself sexually abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter, niece to singer Sparkle.
Kelly was acquitted of a charge that he attempted to obstruct an earlier investigation into his abuse of said goddaughter, and two other counts of enticing minors into having sex.
Kelly, 56, is set to serve both 19 out of the 20-year stretch and his 30-year sentence concurrently. He was previously convicted on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. One year will be served consecutively, said US District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber said in court.
Just last week, his legal team requested prosecutors limit his sentence to 11 years, but the motion was denied. Meanwhile, prosecutors asked for a 25-year sentence to be served upon the completion of the 30-year sentence, citing Kelly’s “lack of remorse,” The New York Times reports.
“Robert Kelly is a serial sexual predator who, over the course of many years, specifically targeted young girls and went to great lengths to conceal his abuse of Jane and other minor victims,” prosecutors said in a filing. “To this day, and even following the jury verdict against him, Kelly refuses to accept responsibility for his crimes.”
Jeannice Williams Appenteng, one of the prosecutors, specifically mentioned, “The only way to ensure he will not reoffend is to impose a sentence that will keep him in prison for the rest of his life.”
According to CNN, Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean, argued, “In the unlikely event that Kelly was to survive his 30-year sentence, there is no reason to believe he would reoffend as a geriatric in his mid-80s. The overwhelming majority of Kelly’s criminal conduct was committed a quarter century ago.”
The ruling ends the lengthy legal battle in Chicago that began in 2008 when he was acquitted on charges of producing child sexual abuse imagery with his aforementioned goddaughter. Initially, she denied to a grand jury that she appeared in an infamous tape that showed Kelly sexually abusing and urinating on her. However, during last year’s federal trial, Jane Doe took the stand to identify herself in the videos.
When asked how many times she and Kelly had sexual intercourse, she replied, “Uncountable times … Hundreds,” beginning when she was 15 and before she turned 18.