R. Kelly, the R&B singer who over the years has faced accusation after accusation of sexually abusing young girls, was found guilty of federal crimes on Monday.
For over a month, Kelly has been on trial in Brooklyn federal court on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, a federal law addressing sex trafficking. Federal prosecutors accused Kelly of running an “enterprise” through which he exploited his star power time and time again to prey on underage girls, young women, and at least two male victims.
Charges against Kelly started heating up in 2017 after an investigation by Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis revealed how parents had told police that the singer was allegedly holding their daughters against their will in a “sex cult.” In January 2019, the documentary Surviving R. Kelly further detailed allegations of multiple women, past and present, who said Kelly had abused them, once again raising questions about how Kelly had escaped accountability.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since in 2019. Sex tapes, bodyguard confessions, and multiple witness and victim testimonies have all made their way in this trial over the past month.
His accusers said they were under orders to call him “Daddy,” expected to jump and kiss him anytime he walked into a room, and to cheer only for him when he played pickup basketball games in which they said he was a ball hog.
The accusers alleged that they also were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as “Rob’s rules.” Others were quoted saying that he had them dress up in Catholic girl-style uniforms to address his fetish with young girls. Some have said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.
Jurors deliberated for only nine hours to reach their verdict, finding Kelly guilty on all counts. He now faces decades in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced May 4, 2022.
“We got justice today,” Kitti Jones, a former Dallas radio DJ who gave up her career to be with Kelly, told The Daily Beast on Monday after he was found guilty of all nine charges he faced in a federal sex crimes case in Brooklyn. “I wouldn’t say I now have closure, because in the end none of us will get our time back. But this is a small victory.”
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three of the six victims who testified in the case, said R. Kelly is the “worst” predator she has ever pursued.
“I have been practicing law for 47 years. During this time I have pursued many sexual predators who have committed crimes against women and children. Of all the predators that I have pursued, however, Mr. Kelly is the worst, for many reasons,” she told reporters.
“First, he used the power of his celebrity to recruit vulnerable underage girls for the purpose of sexually abusing them. These were not May-October relationships, which is what his defense attorney wanted the jury to believe — these were crimes against children and some adults,” Allred said.
“Second, to use the power of his business enterprise and many of his inner circle employees to assist him and enable him in his plan and his scheme to