A federal judge on Thursday sentenced R. Kelly to 20 years in prison for child sex crimes, after a jury found that he had produced three videos of himself sexually abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter.
In a victory for the defense, the judge ruled that all but one year of the prison sentence would be served at the same time as a previous 30-year sentence that Mr. Kelly received after a jury in Brooklyn convicted him of racketeering and sex trafficking charges.
The jury in Chicago convicted Mr. Kelly of six of the 13 charges brought against him in connection with sexual abuse during the 1990s, including three counts of coercing minors into sexual activity and three of producing sex tapes involving a minor. He was acquitted of a charge that he had attempted to obstruct an earlier investigation into his abuse of the goddaughter, and two other counts of enticing minors to have sex.
Federal prosecutors had argued that Mr. Kelly, 56, deserved 25 years in prison on top of his earlier sentence, citing the singer’s “lack of remorse” as a reason he would pose a danger to society if released.
“The only way to ensure he will not reoffend is to impose a sentence that will keep him in prison for the rest of his life,” Jeannice Williams Appenteng, one of the prosecutors, said in court on Thursday.
A lawyer for Mr. Kelly, Jennifer Bonjean, argued that her client was “likely to die in prison either way,” but that if he did not, he would not pose a threat in old age. She is appealing the convictions in both Brooklyn and Chicago.
As in the trial, Mr. Kelly remained mostly silent during the sentencing hearing, declining to speak on his own behalf.
The ruling caps a lengthy legal battle in Chicago, where Mr. Kelly was once widely viewed with pride as a product of the city’s South Side. In 2008, he was acquitted on charges of producing child sexual abuse imagery of his goddaughter, with some jurors telling reporters that they had been influenced by the lack of testimony from the young woman. She had denied to a grand jury that she was the person in an infamous tape that prosecutors said showed Mr. Kelly sexually abusing and urinating on her.
But in last year’s federal trial, which followed a resurgence of scrutiny over Mr. Kelly’s treatment of girls and young women, the woman took the stand, identifying herself as the underage girl being abused in three videos, snippets of which were shown to the jury.
In Thursday’s hearing, a lawyer for the woman — identified in court as Jane — read a statement about how the repeated sexual abuse affected her life, asking that Mr. Kelly be put in jail for “as long as the law allows.”
“I’ll never be able to unsee the child pornography,” she said in the statement, which was read by her lawyer, Christopher Brown. “No amount of therapy will make me normal.”
Source : The New York Times