Robert Sylvester Kelly, a US singer popularly known by his stage name as R Kelly, has been found guilty of exploiting his superstar status to run a scheme to sexually abuse women and children over two decades.
Eleven accusers, nine women and two men, took the stand over the intense six-week trial to describe sexual humiliation and violence at his hands.
After two days of deliberation, the jury found Kelly guilty on all the charges he was facing.
Kelly, was found guilty of working with others in his inner circle in a plot to lure, entice or coerce women for the purposes of sex.
Several of his victims testified that they were children when he sexually abused them.
The singer – most famous for the award-winning song I Believe I Can Fly – was also found guilty of sex trafficking across state lines.
One woman who testified that Kelly imprisoned, drugged and raped her said in a written statement after the verdict that she had “been hiding” from Kelly “due to threats made against me” since she went public with her accusations.
Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represented several victims, told reporters: “I’ve been practicing law for 47 years. During this time, I’ve pursued many sexual predators who have committed crimes against women and children.
At a news conference outside the court on Monday, prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis said that the jury had sent a message to other powerful men like Kelly.
The verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges after a trial in the state of Illinois.
Many of the allegations heard in the trial were first laid out in the 2019 documentary Surviving R Kelly.
Victims were sometimes selected from his concert audiences, or were enticed to join him after being offered help with their fledgling music careers after chance encounters with the singer.
But after joining his entourage, they found that they were subjected to strict rules and aggressively punished if they violated what his team had dubbed “Rob’s rules”.
Kelly, one of the biggest music stars Chicago has ever produced, faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced on May 4, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
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