Sep 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking

R kelly.
Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Singer R. Kelly on Monday was found guilty of racketeering and eight counts of violating an anti-sex trafficking law, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Sexual misconduct allegations have surrounded R. Kelly's career, including a child sexual abuse image case in 2008 in which he was acquitted. Multiple other victims have come forward to speak about the abuse in recent years.

  • "This is by far the highest-profile, post-Me Too conviction involving sexual abuse that we’ve seen in the music industry," per the New York Times' Joe Coscarelli.

The big picture: The indictment accused R. Kelly of "directing his employees to procure women for sex and sexually abused numerous women over the span of nearly 25 years," Insider reports.

  • Many of the women were young teenagers when the abuse began.
  • Many witnesses accused Kelly of "[making the girls] have sex with him and his other 'girlfriends' whenever he wanted, often filming the encounters and directing their every move," from the 1990s onward, per Buzzfeed News.
    • He also knowingly spread genital herpes to these women and refused to wear condoms during these sexual encounters per Buzzfeed.

Catch up quick: Kelly was convicted on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, a federal law that addresses sex trafficking. Racketeering is typically associated with organized crime, per the New York Times.

  • Jurors deliberated for just nine hours before reaching the verdict.

What's next: The singer now faces the possibility of decades in prison. Kelly's sentencing is scheduled for May 4, 2022.

Go deeper