Singer R Kelly (full name Robert Sylvester Kelly) has been found guilty of running a scheme that saw him lure in hopeful musicians and dancers with the promise of bolstering their careers, before going on to sexually abuse them. His victims, eleven of whom took the stand against him, included women and children.
Nine women and two men accused Kelly of wrongdoing during a six week-long trial and described the sexual humiliation and violence they experienced by his hands.
It took the jury two days before a verdict was returned citing the artist guilty of all charges. He will be sentenced next spring and faces decades of jail time.
The victims bravely explained how Kelly would use his celebrity status and wealth to make a connection with them, along with promising to mentor them and help them achieve success of their own. Some were handpicked out of the crowd out his gigs.
Several testified that they were under the age of consent when the abuse took place too.
Kelly was also found guilty of violating the Mann act (a law which forbids interstate sex trafficking).
According to reports, as the verdict was shared with the court, Kelly sat motionless, his face partially covered by a face mask that he had been ordered to wear due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The verdict comes 13 years after he was cleared of child pornography charges.
Prior to being found guilty, R Kelly took part in a sit down interview with talk show host Gayle King to proclaim his innocence to the world.
Referencing him being cleared of child pornography charges in 2008, King said, "I'm not talking about the case where you were acquitted. I'm talking about the other cases where women have come forward and said, 'R Kelly had sex with me when I was under the age of eighteen. R Kelly was abusive to me, emotionally and physically and verbally.
"[They've said] 'R Kelly took me to a black room where unspeakable things happened'. This is what they're saying about you. Why would they say this about you?"
To this, Kelly replied, "Not true. Whether they're old rumours, new rumours, future rumours, not true... This is not me. I'm fighting for my f**king life."
Gerald Griggs, a lawyer representing several Kelly accusers and their families, praised his clients for their "immense strength" and said, according to NBC News, "This is just the beginning. We’ve been fighting this battle since 2017 and many of the victims have been fighting this battle for years. Finally, their voices were heard."
Many of Kelly's accusers appeared in a documentary series, Surviving R Kelly, which shone a further spotlight on the case.
If you're affected by any of the issues raised in this feature, reach out to Victim Support for guidance. If your mental health is suffering as a result of sexual harassment, contact Mind for support.
You Might Also Like