American singer and songwriter Robert Sylvester Kelly, popularly known as R Kelly is finally going to trial. After a year of postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sexual predator who used his fame to groom young girls and exploited young boys and women for many decades in his career has been charged and if found guilty, could be sentenced for up to 10 years.
Maria Cruz Melendez, the assistant US Attorney in charge of the case described R Kelly as “a man who for decades used his fame, his popularity, and a network of people at his disposal to target, groom and exploit young girls, boys, and women for his own sexual gratification”.
R Kelly is being charged with racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, and forced labour between 1994 and 2018. Although he has pleaded not guilty to the charges, he stands a chance of facing up to ten years’ imprisonment if he is convicted on all counts.
To kick-start the trial, the prosecutor Melendez said in her opening statement that R Kelly “had his pick of young fans” and that he hoarded his victims “like objects” she also added that he used his access to wealth and money to pay up lawyers, bodyguards, drivers, etc to cover up his tracks.
He also threatened his victims with revenge porn, sex tapes he made without their consent, and many more. Kelly “punished” his victims who dared disobey him by violently beating them.
In the past, Kelly was accused of making child pornography, sex with minors, operating a sex cult, and sexual battery. However, for some reason the superstar continued to thrive in his career, going on tours and making money without any consequences.
However, in January 2019, after the “Surviving R Kelly” docu-series premiered, people started to come out with allegations and he was finally charged.
Late singer Aaliyah was also a victim of R Kelly’s sex ring. R Kelly got a fake ID from an Illinois government worker just so he could marry Aaliyah when she was 15 while he was 27.
Another woman, who prefers to be called Sonia, claims R Kelly locked her up in a room for three days and sexually abused her during the period.
R. Kelly’s defence lawyer, Nicole Blank Becker, claims the allegations were exaggerated, and the victims were aggrieved groupies who became spiteful when the relationship ended.
However, it is impossible to say what the court’s verdict will be. For now, Kelly’s fate is in the hands of the 12-person jury that will decide the case.