Robert Kelly, better known as the renowned R&B singer R. Kelly, has been found guilty in a sex trafficking trial. According to an article by the New York Times, Kelly has been found guilty of all nine charges that were made against him, as well as racketeering and numerous violations of the anti-sex trafficking law, the Mann Act.
Kelly was convicted after a six-week trial in New York, and now potentially faces life in prison. The men and women who accused Kelly of sexual misconduct were inspired by the “Me Too” movement. The evidence against the singer was traced back all the way to the 1990s. Kelly had abused and traumatized young women and men for all these years.
This was not Kelly’s first criminal trial. In 2008, Kelly was brought to court after a video surfaced of him having intercourse and urinating on an underage girl was brought to light. According to the New York Times, he was found not guilty during this trial after the girl in the video refused to testify.
R. Kelly’s lawyers main line of defense was to paint his accusers as obsessive fans who were seeking an opportunity. They claimed that all these sexual encounters were in fact consensual, and that these victims had lied about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the artist. Additionally, the accused the victims accounts of being inconsistent, and therefore untrustworthy.
However, the evidence stacked against Kelly was thorough. There were text messages from Kelly’s team that showed they were worried about his treatment of women. There was also video and audio evidence that showed the singer violently assaulting a woman and threatening her. This was only a portion of the evidence that was used to bring Kelly to justice.
Kelly’s first public instance of abuse was his marriage to R&B singer, Aaliyah Dana Haughton, best known as Aaliyah. Their marriage began when Aaliyah was just 15 years old, with Kelly being age 27. According to the New York Times, one of Kelly’s tour managers confirmed that Kelly bribed a government employee to get fake identification for the underaged singer so that they could move forward with the wedding. “Mr. Kelly feared that she was pregnant and that he could be prosecuted for statutory rape,” said the article.
Kelly’s court days are not yet over. He now faces a trial in Chicago based on child pornography and obstruction. He also faces sex crime charges in Illinois and Minneapolis.
VALLEY stands up for the “Me Too” movement, and supports all victims having the courage to bring their abusers to light. It is by no means an easy task, but the movement has now saved many young women and men from suffering the same fate.