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R. Kelly Receives 20 Years Following HSI Chicago Investigation


Disgraced Grammy-winning artist charged with multiple counts of producing child pornography and enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity Screenshot 2023-02-24 at 20.47.03

CHICAGO — Recording artist Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. Kelly, was sentenced by United States District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber to 20 years in federal prison, 19 of them concurrent with the 30-year sentence previously imposed in the Eastern District of New York Feb. 23.

On Sept. 14, after a four-week trial, a federal jury in Chicago convicted Kelly of three counts of producing child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity. The trial revealed that Kelly enticed multiple underage girls to engage in sexual activity and that he continued to abuse his victims for years, at times recording some of the abuse. Kelly met his victims in the late 1990s and engaged in sex acts with them when they were as young as 14, 15 and 16 years old. On multiple occasions over several years, Kelly covered up his abuse and silenced his victims.

“Robert Kelly used his power and fame for evil when he exploited children for his own gratification,” said Sean Fitzgerald, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago. “We are confident that Kelly’s sentence will empower victims who are facing similar circumstances to come forward knowing they will be supported. HSI, alongside its partners from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department, and IRS Criminal Investigation, will do everything in our power to ensure perpetrators like Kelly face justice.”

HSI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Sean Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John R. Lausch Jr. and Chicago’s IRS Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell announced the sentence. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago Police Department provided substantial assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeannice W. Appenteng, Elizabeth R. Pozolo, Jason A. Julien and Brian F. Williamson represented the government.

“With today’s sentence, a sexual predator is being held accountable for the years of abuse he inflicted on minor victims,” said Lausch. “Kelly used his celebrity and wealth to attract and victimize young girls and to obstruct prior criminal proceedings intended to end his despicable conduct. We commend the courage and the strength of the victims who came forward in this case to expose Kelly’s crimes. Our office will never cease seeking justice for victims of child sexual abuse, and the public can take comfort knowing that Kelly will never again be in a position to exploit young girls.”

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to contact HSI’s confidential tip line by calling 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or by using ICE’s online tip form. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat child exploitation in our community on Twitter @HSIChicago.