R. Kelly Found Guilty of Child Pornography

After 11 hours of jury deliberation, the convicted sex offender was found guilty on six counts of child pornography and enticement of a minor.

R. Kelly Found Guilty of Child Pornography
Photo:Scott Olson (Getty Images)

After just 11 hours of jury deliberation, R. Kelly was found guilty of multiple child pornography and enticement of a minor charges at a Chicago federal trial—his second in the last year. The convicted sex offender will be charged on three of four child pornography counts and three of five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.

In total, Kelly was indicted on 13 counts of child pornography and obstruction of justice in 2019. But he and two of his former associates, his former business manager Derrel McDavid and assistant Milton “June” Brown, were acquitted of all obstruction of justice charges, after a jury couldn’t conclusively determine that they rigged his 2008 child pornography trial.

“There was a mixed verdict, but we won more counts than we lost,” Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told reporters following the verdict. “If this jury concluded that he was guilty on the first three counts, would they care enough to consider the evidence on the rest? And they demonstrated that they did. They did their job. They looked at each count separately.”

Throughout the four-week trial, four of Kelly’s victims—each of whom testified under a pseudonym—laid bare innumerable gut-wrenching allegations to the jury. Some testimony was so overwhelming that one female juror was dismissed after suffering a panic attack.

“Jane,” the now-37-year-old woman who has identified herself as the teenager being sexually abused by Kelly on the infamous tape at the epicenter of the 2008 trial, was perhaps the most damning witness. The woman recalled meeting Kelly when she was just “12 or 13 years old” at a gospel concert at her church. Like several of his victims, she was then a burgeoning performer with aspirations of becoming a singer. Kelly soon became the girl’s godfather and a trusted friend to her family. By the time she turned 14, Kelly began physically abusing her—often coercing her to engage in sex acts with the disgraced R&B singer and other underage girls. One year later, she testified that she “lost her virginity” to Kelly and “had sex” with him over 1oo times.

“I felt uncomfortable…but I looked up to him,” Jane testified. “It somewhat became normal.”

When the tape—one of many—was sent to journalist Jim DeRogatis in 2002, Kelly paid for Jane and her family to take a trip to the Bahamas and Cancun. She also alleged that he coached her to deny it was her. In 2008, she later declined to testify in court, claiming that she “wanted to protect him.”

On Tuesday, before jurors were dismissed for deliberation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng told the court: “R. Kelly had to have what he wanted,” she began. “What R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls. And what the people around him wanted, they wanted to help their boss in any way possible, including helping him get away with it.”

One year ago, in September 2021, Kelly was convicted on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering in a federal trial in Brooklyn. By June 2022, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

It’s likely that the latest charges will result in a doubled prison sentence. While Kelly’s sentencing date has yet to be determined, people with similar convictions have received an average sentence of 23 years in prison, according to the United States Sentencing Commission.

In the immediate wake of the news, the #MuteRKelly campaign, a group of grassroots activists and advocates who were instrumental in raising awareness of Kelly’s crimes, tweeted: “We stand in solidarity with those who survived his abuse and bravely told their stories in a court of law.”

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