The American singer R. Kelly was found guilty on Monday of organized crime and sex trafficking after a six-week trial that took place in New York, in which dozens of people testified against him.
According to local media, the jury announced its ruling after nine hours of deliberation, and assumes that a former R&B star in the 1990s, who barely reacted to the decision, could spend several decades in jail.
R. Kelly was charged by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York with crimes of organized crime, coercion and transporting women and girls to carry out illegal sexual activities in the United States for two decades, charges similar to those he faces in Chicago, where he was behind bars since his arrest in 2019 until last June.
At the New York trial, the prosecution interrogated at least 10 women who said they had been abused by Robert Sylvester Kelly, 54, and dozens of other witnesses who detailed a continuing pattern of abuse for four weeks. The women described on the stage a charismatic celebrity who frequently chose young victims who attended his concerts, whom he sometimes sexually assaulted behind the scenes minutes after the show.
The testimonies also revealed prolonged abuse by Kelly against his partners, who he beat, forced to call him “daddy” (daddy), controlled the way he dressed, when they could use the bathroom or eat, how they interacted with other men and if they could leave the rooms of residences or hotels in which he kept them. In addition, they uncovered that R. Kelly used an entire network of employees to assist him in his efforts to recruit, isolate and intimidate young girls.
Attorney Gloria Allred, representing several of the victims, said Kelly is the “worst sexual predator” she has seen during her long professional career. “To begin with, he used the power of his celebrity status to recruit vulnerable minors with the aim of abusing them sexually,” he told reporters in front of the courts, shortly after the sentence was known. The lawyer stressed that these were not simple relationships between a young person and an older person, as argued by Kelly’s defense, but that they were “crimes committed against girls and some adults.”
Last week, the artist decided not to testify during the judicial process, in which his lawyers tried to discredit the allegations of sexual abuse through several of his former employees, who claimed they had never seen such behavior and who came to describe him as “chivalrous”