R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years for sex trafficking young fans

R&B singer R. Kelly was lambasted Wednesday as a “disgusting” child abuser who taught victims that “love is enslavement and violence” before being sentenced to 30 years in prison for a sex abuse scheme targeting his young fans.

The decades-long sentence in Brooklyn Federal Court capped the precipitous downfall of the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, a self-described “musical genius” who sold more than 75 million records and won three Grammy awards. Kelly, 55, is now a convicted sex offender who claims he’s broke.

Judge Ann Donnelly told Kelly he mercilessly ruined the lives of the countless victims he serially raped, abused, and isolated “with regularity for almost 25 years.”

“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,” Donnelly told Kelly.

“These victims were disposable to you. You taught them that love is enslavement and violence and humiliation.”

The singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted last September of nine racketeering counts for the decades-long sex abuse scheme that targeted young female fans, some of whom were minors, as well as boys.

Victims testified about Kelly’s obsessive domination of their lives. He made them call him “daddy,” controlled what they ate, ordered they avoid eye contact with other men and locked them in rooms and tour buses for extended periods.

“You are an abuser. You are shameless. You are disgusting, and you are self-serving. I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life,” one of the victims, Stephanie, told Kelly during the emotional sentencing hearing. She met Kelly when she was 16 in 1998 at the famed Rock ‘N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago on a double date with her boyfriend.

“You were a 31-year-old pedophile ready to ruin another young lady’s life,” Stephanie said.

Through tears, Kitti Jones told the court how she was a superfan when she met Kelly at a nightclub in Texas in 2011. She would soon be living with him for a two-year period she described as filled with “humiliation, sexual abuse, physical abuse” and “severe weight loss due to punishment of days going without food.”

Kelly, who faces a second federal trial on similar charges in his hometown of Chicago and plans to appeal his Brooklyn conviction, did not address the court. In his sentencing submission, attorney Jennifer Bonjean said he was “not an evil monster” but “a complex (unquestionably flawed) human-being” whose trauma shaped his adulthood.

A cohort of die-hard superfans attended the trial. One of them, Christopher “DeBoSki Gunn” Gunn, was indicted Monday for threatening the Brooklyn federal prosecutors who secured Kelly’s conviction. The relatively few outside the courthouse Wednesday shouted at some of the victims as they left court.

“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,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.

More than 40 witnesses and 11 accusers took the stand during the nearly month-long trial. Evidence showed how the “Ignition” singer and members of his entourage targeted victims at sold-out concerts and shopping malls. Jurors heard of a depraved “Twilight Zone” behind the imposing gates of Kelly’s mansion in the Chicago suburbs governed by “Rob’s Rules.”

Kelly beat girls and women with shoes, cords and fists. He delivered vicious spankings, which he referred to as “chastisements,” when they broke his rules.

Donnelly said neither she nor anyone who heard the evidence would forget the horrific nature of Kelly’s crimes. She cited testimony that the singer made one teen victim live naked under a boxing ring and perform oral sex on him and other men. In another incident, Kelly made a victim cover herself in feces.

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Kelly beat child pornography charges in 2008. At that trial, his enablers invited teen fans in attendance to party with him.

He first faced allegations of sleeping with underage girls in the 1990s. His pedophilic relationship and marriage to Aaliyah — who died tragically in a 2001 plane crash — was central to the government’s case. When they married, he was 27 and she was 15. The unlawful union came after Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant and bribed a government worker in exchange for a fake ID stating she was 18 years old.

Jovante Cunningham, another victim who was a Kelly backup dancer, said she saw him engage in sex acts with Aaliyah when future star was just 13.

“I am Jovante. I am Tiffany. I am Aaliyah Dana Haughton,” Cunningham said in court. “I am a representation of every woman, boy, child, man that you have ever afflicted with your deplorable, inexplicable acts. And with that, I leave you with yourself Robert Sylvester Kelly.”

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