U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly delivered the 55-year-old’s sentence in court on Wednesday “after hearing from several survivors who attested to how Kelly’s exploitation reverberated across their lives,” the Associated Press wrote, noting the disgraced singer didn’t address those in attendance.
“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel. Do you remember that?” asked one survivor who went unnamed, speaking “directly” to a Kelly who “kept his hands folded and his eyes downcast,” per the outlet.
Another victim, who testified during the trial about being sexually assaulted by Kelly as a teen, referred to him as a “pied piper” at his sentencing, per the Daily Beast. “With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness. You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification,” Angela said.
One more woman who experienced abuse at Kelly’s hands, going by Jane Doe No. 2, told Kelly, “You degraded me, humiliated me and broke my spirit. I wished I would die because of how you degraded me. … You couldn’t care less,” she said, per NBC News. “I avoided your name and your songs and suffocated with fear. What you did left a permanent stain on my life. … You are an abuser, shameless, disgusting. I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life. I feel sorry for you.”
In an official United States Department of Justice release, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace wrote, “R. Kelly used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification, while many turned a blind eye. Through his actions, Kelly exhibited a callous disregard for the devastation his crimes had on his victims and has shown no remorse for his conduct. With today’s sentence he has finally and appropriately been held accountable for his decades of abuse, exploitation and degradation of teenagers and other vulnerable young people. We hope that today’s sentence brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims, including those who bravely testified at trial, and serves as long-overdue recognition that their voices deserve to be heard and their lives matter.”
Earlier this month, prosecutors argued that 55-year-old Kelly should spend no less than 25 years behind bars, saying in an AP-cited filing the singer had used his stature to “prey upon children and young women.” Kelly’s legal team, meanwhile, had pushed for a lighter sentence, citing Kelly’s “traumatic childhood.”
Kelly was convicted in September of last year on nine counts of a superseding indictment which saw him charged with racketeering and several predicate acts, including sexual exploitation of a child and forced labor. At the time, Kelly was said by the Department of Justice to be facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years behind bars.
Ahead of Wednesday’s sentencing, a man was confirmed to have been arrested in Chicago and charged in connection with making threats against prosecutors. If convicted, the man—identified as Christopher Gunn—could face a sentence of up to five years.