Artist News Legal

R Kelly vows to “fight” sexual abuse conviction

By | Published on Wednesday 29 September 2021

R Kelly

R Kelly has said that he will “fight” to prove that he is not guilty of sexual abuse, racketeering and sex trafficking, after being found guilty of all those things at the conclusion of a trial in New York earlier this week.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Kelly said: “To all my fans and supporters I love you all and thank you for all the support. [The] verdict was disappointing and I will continue to prove my innocence and fight for my freedom”.

Since the statement was posted, Kelly’s Facebook and Instagram profiles have been deleted. It’s not clear if they were removed by Facebook itself, or whoever was operating them.

Pending an appeal, Kelly is now awaiting sentencing. He is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, but could face far longer in jail after prosecutors successfully convinced a jury that the musician built and ran a criminal enterprise that allowed him to prolifically groom and abuse young people, often teenagers.

The prosecution called 45 witnesses to the stand during the court case, including eleven of his victims, presenting Kelly as a serial abuser with a clear pattern for how he lured his victims into his life and slowly exerted control over them. The defence, conversely, called just five witnesses, while mainly arguing that all of Kelly’s victims were lying, and that the musician just lived a rock n roll lifestyle that each of his victims happily joined in with.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain¬†yesterday, Kelly’s ex-wife Drea Kelly – who has previously spoken out about the emotional and physical abuse she experienced during their thirteen year marriage – said that the conviction was “a step forward” but only the beginning of turning the tide on how such cases are discussed and handled.

“[It’s important] that women are supported to even feel like they have the strength to come forward and tell their stories”, she said. “If [people are] still victim shaming, victim blaming, [resulting in] women being afraid to speak their truth, we can never get to a court system where justice can be served”.

“I’ve always said if any of his victims were blonde and blue-eyed it wouldn’t have taken this long”, she then added. “Women of colour tend to be lowest on the totem pole when it comes to subjects of domestic violence and sexual abuse”.

The New York trial is only the first of three centred on allegations of sexual abuse by the musician. He is also set to stand trial in Minnesota and his hometown of Chicago. Start dates for both of those trials are yet to be set. It’s not clear if they will be further delayed by an appeal in New York.