NEW YORK — R. Kelly, the R&B superstar known for his anthem "I Believe I Can Fly," deserves at least 25 years behind bars for sexually abusing women and girls, prosecutors said in a memo filed Wednesday in advance of his sentencing later this month.
A New York City jury found Kelly guilty of racketeering and multiple other counts last year at a sex-trafficking trial that was seen as a signature moment in the #MeToo movement.
Prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and aides who helped Kelly meet girls — and keep them obedient — amounted to a criminal enterprise.
Several accusers testified in lurid detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected his victims to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage.
Kelly used his "fame, money and popularity" to systematically "prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification," prosecutors wrote in the filing.
"He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account," prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors wrote Kelly's criminal conduct consists of "enticement of children, the sexual exploitation of children through the production of child pornography, forced labor and exposure of others through unprotected sexual intercourse to an incurable communicable disease."