BROOKLYN (CN) — Tension between R. Kelly’s victims and his supporters bubbled over following the emotional four-hour hearing Wednesday where the former R&B singer was handed a 30-year prison sentence.
Convicted on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering, Kelly remained still with his eyes downcast as seven women told the court how their lives were changed by the singer’s abuse and total control over their lives.
Witnesses at trial said Kelly directed their every move: He limited what they could eat and when, allowed them only to wear baggy clothing and forbade them from speaking to or even looking at other men. He directed them to have sex with him and each other, dictating their every move.
If they broke the rules, Kelly would physically abuse them, including spanking them so hard he left bruises and broke skin, or would not let them eat for days, they testified. One witness said he forced her to have sex with a man she’d never met as punishment.
One of Kelly’s backup dancers in the early 1990’s, who identified herself outside court as Javonte, said she was just 14 or 15 years old when the “Ignition (Remix)” singer forced her to have sex with him. She toured with Kelly and the singer Aaliyah, and said she saw the two in a “sexual situation” when Aaliyah was no older than 14.
Angela said she represented the other performers, then young girls, who experienced the same abuse.
“I am Javonte. I am Tiffany. I am Aaliyah Dana Haughton. I am a representation of every woman, boy, child, man that you have ever afflicted with your deplorable, inexplicable acts,” Javonte said, speaking passionately and directly to Kelly.
“With that, I leave you with yourself, Robert Sylvester Kelly.”
Haughton died in a 2001 plane crash but was the subject of the top count against Kelly. Trial evidence and testimony showed that she was just 15 when Kelly, then 27, married her because he believed she was pregnant and because he believed incorrectly that their marriage would shield him with spousal immunity. On their way to the altar, Kelly had his associates pay off a public official to create a fake ID for his bride.
Other women described how Kelly isolated them from their families, sowing distrust by telling them he was the only one who could help the careers in music to which some aspire.
Lizzette Martinez was abused as a child, and met Kelly in Miami when she was 17 years old. After a party, he sexually assaulted her, Martinez told the court.
“This was when a lifetime of depression and PTSD started for me,” Martinez said, accompanied at the podium by her attorney Gloria Allred.
When she turned 18, Kelly could bring her to Chicago to be his “sex slave,” she continued.
Another woman who spoke under the name Jane Doe 2 called Kelly a pedophile who took advantage of her.
“You made me do things that broke my spirit,” she said. “I literally wished that I would die because of how you made me feel.”
Jane Doe 2 said Kelly once made her perform oral sex on her in the back seat of a car while there were passengers in the front, after Kelly had played an hour of basketball.
“I did as I was told when you told me to moan, and do it louder, as you forced your penis in and out of my mouth,” she said, looking at Kelly. “Do you remember that?”
Kelly and his attorney Jennifer Bonjean whispered to one another during the victim statements. Jane Doe 2 paused speaking.