Friday, September 30, 2022

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Singer R. Kelly found guilty of child pornography

R. Kelly was convicted of child pornography charges in Chicago on Wednesday. The fallen R&B star was previously sentenced in June to 30 years in prison for sex crimes against young, sometimes teenage, women.

Robert Sylvester Kelly, 55, was convicted of manufacturing child pornography and embezzling a minor, according to the Chicago Tribune newspaper. However, the singer, best known worldwide for his hit song “I Believe I Can Fly” and sold 75 million records, was acquitted of further charges of obstruction of justice by a federal jury.

He and two former allies – who were also acquitted on Wednesday – have been charged with disrupting the course of his child pornography trial in 2008, in which the jury found him not guilty. They were accused of both threatening and corrupting a victim who had not testified at the time. Now 37, she said this time.

Excerpts from videos showing sexual violence committed by R. Kelly against young teenage girls, one of whom was as young as 14, were shown at the trial. It took the 12-member jury about 11 hours to reach that verdict, which could add a hefty prison sentence to the 30 years that R. Kelly has already been sentenced to.

The artist was found guilty in New York in September 2021 of experimenting with a “system” of sexually exploiting young people, including teenage girls, for three decades.

This lawsuit was considered a big step in the #MeToo movement: it was the first time that the majority of the plaintiffs were black women and they accused a black artist.

For decades, R. Kelly’s success was marred by suspicions of sexual violence, the subject of persistent rumours. He had long managed to silence her with financial agreements that included non-disclosure clauses.

As early as 2017, two women, Kenyette Barnes and Oronike Odeleye, had called for a boycott of his songs under the hashtag “Mute R. Kelly” (“Shut up R. Kelly”). In January 2019, the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly hit the nail on the head. Several victims described the singer as manipulative, violent, and obsessed with very young girls.

During the New York trial, the victims described the tactics used by the singer to attract very young women with his celebrity and the complicity of those around him. Many of them had met the star at concerts, after which they were slipped a small piece of paper with R. Kelly’s contact details.

They were promised that he would do something for their musical career. Instead, they were “indoctrinated” into R. Kelly’s “dirty” milieu, forced to have sex, and “coerced” into that “system,” prosecutors allege.

The singer had managed to rise to the top of the music industry despite his turbulent personal life, including his — then annulled — marriage to his 15-year-old protégé, singer Aaliyah. R. Kelly wrote and produced the late artist’s 2001 debut album, Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number.

This article was published automatically. Sources: ats/afp

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