R&B singer R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal court in New York for masterminding an elaborate scheme to entice and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children.
The former 90s superstar was branded “the pied piper of R&B” as he came face to face with several of his victims who detailed his “deplorable and inexplicable” abuse during the hearing.
Kelly’s sentence follows his conviction on multiple counts of racketeering, relating to bribery and forced labour, by a jury in September last year.
The 55-year-old was also found in violation of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.
The singer, who denied all charges, was found guilty on all nine counts against him after a six-week trial in Brooklyn, New York.
Sentencing Kelly, judge Ann Donnelly said he had used his “minions” to “lure young fans into your orbit”.
Kelly, dressed in a grey prison-issue uniform, did not appear to react as his sentence was passed.
The court also heard victim impact statements from seven women, presented anonymously to the court, who detailed Kelly’s “God-like complex” and how he used his “fame and power” to entice his victims.
A woman using the pseudonym Angela told him: “The pied piper of R&B, both in music and in technique and in approach.
“Success and love… you presented these glittering gems as if they were gold.
“With every addition of a new victim you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which soon became the breeding ground for your God-like complex.
“You were doing, saying and encouraging despicable things that no one should be doing.
“We reclaim our names from beneath the shadows of your afflicted trauma.”
At one point a woman known as Jane Doe number two halted her statement, saying she “did not want to interrupt (Kelly’s) conversation” as the singer appeared to confer with his lawyer.
“You are an abuser, you are shameless, you are disgusting,” she told him.
The singer, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been detained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn since his conviction.
He is known for songs including his first number one single Bump N’ Grind and 1996 smash hit I Believe I Can Fly.