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R. Kelly Gets 20-Year Prison Sentence in Chicago Sex Crimes Case

The musician will wind up serving only one additional year tacked onto his previous 30-year sentence in a separate New York case
(Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

R. Kelly has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual exploitation and enticement of a minor, following his conviction on six related counts last September in Chicago. The 56-year-old singer is already serving a 30-year sentence after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges in a separate June 2022 trial in New York.

In the Chicago case, a jury found that Kelly made three videos of sexual encounters with his then-14-year-old goddaughter. Prosecutors previously said Kelly offered up to $1 million to recover those videos after they were stolen and then carried them from place to place in a gym bag.

Despite the new sentence, Kelly will serve one additional year of jail time. Chicago prosecutors had requested a 25-year sentence to be served following the completion of the 30-year sentence in the New York case, but the judge ruled that the new time would be served concurrently for all but one year.

Kelly’s attorneys are appealing both the New York and Chicago convictions while their client continues to serve time at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where has been incarcerated since 2019.

Kelly, who was illegally married to a then-15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994, dodged accusations of having sex with underage girls for decades. In 2002, he was indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges but was acquitted at trial in 2008. A 2017 Buzzfeed report prompted the latest round of criminal charges, as it described how Kelly recruited young women into his orbit, banned them from communicating with their family and friends, controlled what they wore and ate, and recorded sexual encounters with them.

Legal scrutiny of Kelly’s activities intensified following the 2019 docu-series Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed numerous sexual abuse accusations from several victims who came forward to tell their stories for the first time.