Kelly was found guilty of nine counts. Following the verdict, victims of his crimes have expressed relief and gratitude.
Trigger Warning: Details of Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation of Children
Several victims of R. Kelly's crimes testified during his highly publicized trial, for which they have earned high praise from prosecutors and attorneys. After he was charged on nine counts of federal crimes on Monday, his victims spoke up once more. Kelly is likely to spend multiple decades in prison, and those who testified can finally begin the process of moving on from their traumatic experiences. Although an attorney for Kelly claimed they were disappointed with the verdict, the victims expressed gratitude and relief that the jury had believed their stories. One noted, "Today, my voice was heard," CNN reports.
Faith is one of several alleged victims Kelly is accused of knowingly infected with herpes without informing them of it.— julia reinstein 🚡 (@juliareinstein) September 27, 2021
Once, Faith said, Kelly made her strip naked and questioned her on her sexual history while he sat in a chair with a gun beside him.https://t.co/cloY1w3KAn
Jerhonda Pace was the first victim to testify against Kelly. Within a few hours of the guilty verdict being read, she took to Instagram to share her thoughts. "I am happy to FINALLY close this chapter of my life," she posted. "No matter what you think of me or how you feel about things; today, I MADE HISTORY. I wanna see you be brave." Pace's testimony during the trial included details part of a case with three racketeering acts. In this case, the jury found her claims were proven true. As a result of her testimony, Kelly was also found guilty on charges of Mann Act violations: forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child.
Kelly would often film his sexual encounters with 16-year-old Jerhonda, she testified, in some cases making her emphasize her young age in the videos.— julia reinstein 🚡 (@juliareinstein) September 27, 2021
“He wanted me to put my hair up in pigtails and dress like a Girl Scout," she said.https://t.co/qIOzYmv96B
For years, Pace had faced online trolling by folks who believed she was lying about her experiences. Many accused her of sharing testimony for money. Notably, one of Kelly's attorneys, Nicole Blank Becker, called Pace "a self-proclaimed liar" in her opening statement. Nonetheless, the victim affirmed, "Today, my voice was heard." Additionally, she said she was grateful to provide a voice for those who did not have the courage to speak up for themselves. She added that she was thankful to have been part of the group that provided testimony. Pace, now 28 years old, testified that Kelly sexually abused her in 2009 when she was 16.
The corporate press FINALLY said it.— Eliza (@elizableu) September 28, 2021
“Our image of a sex trafficking victim is a white girl kept in a basement. But Black women and girls are disproportionately targeted.”
R. Kelly conviction: Black women are the face of sex trafficking https://t.co/1uGlpmIwDQ
Gloria Allred, an attorney for three of the victims who testified, shared a statement from a woman who spoke in court as "Sonja." Reading from the statement, the attorney recited, "I've been hiding from Robert Kelly in fear due to threats made against me and I'm ready to start living my life free from fear and to start the healing process. Thank you for shining a light and helping me to get out from under that rock that I stayed under for far too long." Allred said Sonja was thankful the jury listened to her, adding a note of thanks for the federal agents who protected her and others over the past two years while the trial was underway. "If you've been in a similar situation, I urge you to come forward as well," she said, according to the attorney. "It will be like a weight lifted off of your shoulders." She said no one should have to live with the same fear she did.
R Kelly’s ex-wife says victim shaming stopped women coming forward https://t.co/zSEALiYZGc— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) September 28, 2021
Kelly was found guilty of nine counts: one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act. Of the 14 underlying acts for the racketeering count, he had to be found guilty of at least two to be convicted of that count. Jurors found prosecutors had proven all but two of the 14 underlying racketeering acts. An attorney for Kelly claimed they would consider filing an appeal.
As I just discussed on air, juries often deliberate for weeks in RICO/racketeering cases. The fact that the jury deliberated LESS THAN 1 full day before convicting R. Kelly on all counts says that the jurors fully & firmly believed every victim who testified. #BelieveVictims— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) September 27, 2021