R. Kelly Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Child Sex Crimes

The singer will serve all but one year of the sentence within his 30 years for racketeering and sex trafficking

R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago
Scott Olson/Getty Images

R. Kelly was sentenced to 20 years in prison for child pornography and enticement of minors for sex Thursday. 

He will serve all but one year of the sentence simultaneously with his 30-year sentence for racketeering and sex trafficking, according to the AP.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered Kelly’s service of one year in prison following the racketeering sentence, which was handed down last year in New York.

The biggest question was whether Leinenweber would order the Grammy Award-winning singer to serve the sentences concurrently or only after he finished the 30-year sentence assigned in New York.

Thursday’s sentence means R. Kelly will serve no more than 31 years in prison, so the 56-year-old could become eligible for release around the age of 80. Prosecutors argued for the longer sentence over Kelly’s lack of remorse for his crimes against children.

“The [government’s] whole theory of grooming was sort of the opposite of fear of bodily harm,” the judge told the court. “It was the fear of lost love, lost affections. … It just doesn’t seem to me that it rises to the fear of bodily harm.”

A statement from a key witness who testified under the pseudonym Jane was also read aloud in court.

“I have lost my dreams to Robert Kelly,” the statement said. “I will never get back what I lost to Robert Kelly. “When your virginity is taken by a pedophile at 14 … your life is never your own.”

Chicago jurors convicted Kelly on three counts of producing child pornography and three of enticement of minors for sex last year.