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R. Kelly sentenced to decades in prison in sex trafficking case with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center president and CEO commenting on his convictions last year

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Pictured is disgraced R&B Singer R Kelly

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief

BROOKLYN, New York- Disgraced R& B and pop superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Wednesday following convictions last year in a  federal racketeering and sex trafficking case that drew international attention and highlighted the extent to which famous men can use their celebrity status to sexually exploit and victimize young Black women and girls with impunity.

Once dubbed the the "King of Pop-Soul" and the "Pied Piperof R&B," Kelly continues to deny any wrongdoing, and he faces several civil lawsuits. His sentencing comes less than a week after the U.S. the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and women and advocacy groups took to the streets nationwide to protest.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced the "I Believe I Can Fly," singer, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, without gesitation, Kelly dressed in prison garb and showing no emotion.

The judge chastized him, saying that his criminal actions and sexual escapes, including the deliberate rape of women and girls, left an  avalance of "broken lives." And in addition to issuing a decades-long sentence, the judge also fined him $100,000.

His attorneys have vowed to appeal.

Survivors of his abuse held hands and prayed outside of the Brooklyn, New York federal court room, much like they did when the renowned singer and songwriter was convicted in 2021 of longterm sexual rafficking.

Kelly, 55, had been charged with one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act. It prohibits transporting people across state lines for prostitution. When he was convicted women's advocacy groups across the country  were ecstatic.

When the jury verdict came down last year, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center applauded Kelly's convictions on all nine counts by a federal jury of seven men and five women, convictions that followed a closely watched five and half week trial.

“Today’s verdict rightfully acknowledges the experiences of dozens of women abused by Kelly and sends a clear message that sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse cannot and will not be tolerated even years after the event," said Cleveland Rape Crisi Center President and CEO Sondra Miller after Kelly was convicted. “The stories of this case sadly revealed that for African-American women, sexual assault, violence, and systemic racism are incredibly pervasive issues that routinely go unreported and under-addressed. "

Miller said that "for every 15 Black women who are raped, only one reports her assault and disturbingly one in four Black girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18.

She went on to say that "this is further exacerbated when acknowledging the unique cultural nuances of young girls in marginalized communities."

The Brooklyn, New York jury that determined Kelly's fate, which was largely male,  deliberated for a day before reaching its celebrated verdict. Kelly did not take the stand at his own trial, which was his constitutional right.

Prosecutors accused the famous singer of  sexually exploiting dozens of women and  underage girls over a period of some 25 years.

He did not show any emotion when the verdict was read.

A few of Kelly's female victims looked on from the court's overflow room as the verdict was read.

Kelly is one of the most prominent people tried on sex charges during the #MeToo movement behind movie producer Harvey Weinstein and actor and comedian Bill Cosby, whose rape and other convictions were overturned in June by the Philadelphia Supreme Court.

In Cosby's case the state Supreme Court said that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the charges against him and that the case was not properly before the trial court because prosecutors reneged on a decades-old settlement agreement not to prosecute him on the charges that were before the court.

"We hope that today's verdict brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims," acting U.S. District  Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis told reporters relative to Kelly's convictions.

Prosecutors said Kelly  used his fame and charisma to recruit his victims while his defense counsel told jurors at trial that it was his fame and fortune that made him an alleged victim of the system as a Black man.

Kelly's 30-year music career, which  includes the 1996 Grammy-winning  hit "I Believe I Can Fly," gave him entree to young Black women and girls looking for stardom, and he took complete advantage of them, prosecutors said.

The late singer Aaliyah, whom he illegally married in 1994 when she was 15, was among his purported victims.

That marriage was short lived and Aaliyah later died in a plane crash in 2001.

Kelley's lawyers argued at trial that accusations included in the January 2019 Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," contributed to what they say is a prejudicial jury verdict.

One witness testified that Kelly locked her up for days and denied her food, and another said  he allegedly sexually abused her in front of his friends.

Some Blacks remain torn over the Kelly and Cosby cases, their allies and supporters saying they are both victims themselves of a racist legal system in America that has a double standard for Black men across socioeconomic lines.

Last Updated on Sunday, 31 July 2022 09:04

Hundreds march with Women's March Cleveland from the Cuyahoga County Adminstration Building to City Hall for women's rights on June 28, 2022 will return for the July 5 county council meeting at 4:45 pm

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Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Hundreds of women and their supporters rallied outside of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building in downtown Cleveland on Tues, June 28 and then marched through the streets to Cleveland City Hall, an event hosted by Women's March Cleveland as a continuation of  rallies since Fri, June 24 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion legal nationwide.


The regularly scheduled county council meeting had been canceled but activists said that they will return on Tues, July 5  for another rally in front of the county administration building, and that at that time they plan to speak before the 11-member county council to seek support for women..


"You can run but you can't hide," said head Women's  March Cleveland organizer Kathy Wray Coleman regarding the cancelation of Tuesday's county council meeting, Coleman and the other activists who spoke also demanding that County Executive Armond Budish and county council speak out for abortion access for women in  Cleveland and in Ohio.


Coleman told reporters at the rally that activists are pleased that County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley has pledged not to prosecute women over the recent abortion law restrictions, including the heartbeat bill in Ohio, and that activists urge every county prosecutor in America to follow his lead."


Activists said that city and council council members should aggressively take on Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican seeking reelection who has vowed to do everything in his power to outlaw abortion in Ohio.


The marchers also chanted "hey hey ho ho Mike DeWine has got to go" on the steps of City Hall.


While the U.S. Supreme Court last week reversed Roe v Wade in a Jackson Mississippi case dubbed Jackson vs Mississippi Health Organization as to a controversial state law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, it also noted that state legislatures across the country would have authority to regulate and readily outlaw abortion in respective states.


Also at issue  during the rally was the proposed county budget that includes a possible $4 million to enhance a gulf course in suburban Parma while Black women continue to get raped and murdered in droves, and  with no additional resources allocated to seek to tame the problem, activists said.


Activists  took on  Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin and city and county council  for what they say is the misaapropriation of funds for coporate and other frivolous projects coupled with the lack of necessary funds for inner city neighborhoods and the  Cleveland Rape Crisis Center and the Journey Center for Safety and Healing.


Race came up at the rally with one participant saying racism doesn't exist anymore, and particularly with respect to women's reproductive rights.


"Racism continues to be a problem," said activist Alysa Cooper, a young activist who helped Coleman organize Tuesday's event in Cleveland .


Coleman told rally participants that racism is the inequitable distribution of resources by the majority power structuture and that allocating county resources for a gulf course in Parma while Black women of Cleveland are disproportionately raped and murdered with nothing being done to address the growing epedemic is a prime example of alleged racism by county council


Activists also complained that women's issues are not in the budget for county council or city council during a crisis period for women in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold and Ohio's second largest county.

 

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL

Last Updated on Monday, 04 July 2022 00:44

Women's March Cleveland to host women's rights rally outside of Cuyahoga County Council Administration Building on June 28, 2022 at 4:45 pm, a post Roe v Wade reversal decision rally and a continuation of rallies since the Supreme Court overturned Roe

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Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Women in greater Cleveland will rally on Tue, June 28, 2022 outside of the Cuyahoga County Administration building in downtown Cleveland beginning at 4:45pm as we continue our protests over the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. Activists want county council members to speak out for women of greater Cleveland as we fight for our lives and for reproductive rights in Ohio. The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade relegated authority over abortion to the state legislatures in the country, and women are in trouble in Ohio relative to its largely male and predominantly Republican state legislature. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE FOR THIS EVENT This event will go forward with or without a county council meeting

This will be a peaceful event. We shall also address other issues, including the allocation of resources where women's issues are not in the budget during a crisis period for women  We also need to know if County Executive Armond Budish and county council will stand up for abortion access for women in Ohio, even if it means offending some Republicans at the statehouse and Gov. Mike DeWine, who has said that he will do everything in his power to get abortion outlawed in Ohio.

By Women's March Cleveland
Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2022 16:20

Women's March Cleveland's Roe v Wade decision day march draws hundreds, Cleveland 19 News reporter Michelle Nics reports

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By Michelle Nicks (WOIO) Cleveland 19 News

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND 19 NEWS

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Abortion rights protesters in Cleveland are willing to camp out all night for their cause on the steps at Cleveland City Hall.

On Friday, hundreds of people who believe women should still have a right to choose took their fight to the streets.

The group organized by the group Women’s March Cleveland, marched in downtown Cleveland, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial and landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade after 50 years.

Kathy Wray Coleman leads Women’s March Cleveland and organized the rally and march, “This is a sad day for Cleveland, a sad day for our nation and it’s unprecedented, it’s reprehensible what they are doing to women.”

Alexis Peredis of Tampa in Cleveland for a training program took part in the protest and said, “Banning abortions doesn’t mean no one gets abortions, it just means banning safe abortions.”

Those who gathered in Cleveland, as well as other groups around the country, said they plan to give new life to the abortion fight.

They said what a woman does with her body should still be her choice.

Activist Delores Gray told 19 News, “I’m really mad about it, cause I’m thinking women may die from this, but it’s much more than the abortion part- it’s the health benefits, the clinic and all of that.”

State Senator Nickie Antonio of Lakewood said even though there’s anger this group need to turn it into action, “It’s not over, this begins a new day and a new fight for all of us.”

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL

Roe v Wade overturned- Women's March Cleveland to rally and march, Friday, June 24, 2022 - Free Stamp at Willard Park next to Cleveland City Hall- Gather at 5-pm, speeches at 5:30 pm, march at 6pm

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Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com

RALLY TODAY, FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2022- FREE STAMP AT WILLARD PARK NEXT TO AT CLEVELAND CITY HALL IN DOWNTOEN CLEVELAND THE . U.S. SUPREME COURT OVERTURNED ROE V WADE TODAY

Cleveland, Ohio: https://www.facebook.com/event...
CLEVELAND, Ohio Women's March Cleveland's Roe v Wade Decision Day Action, a rally in fact, isset for June 24, 2022 at the Free Stamp at Willard Park in downtown Cleveland next to Ciy Hall since the U.S. Supreme Court's anticipated decision in a celebrated case out of Jackson, Mississippi that will serve to overturn Roe v Wade has been issued. The event contact telephone number is Women's March Cleveland at (216) 659-0473.
We will gather at 5pm, give speeches y 5:30 pm and then march in the streets at 6pm.
According to a Supreme Court leak, the high court was expected tp release its opinion in late June of 2022 in a Mississippi case that threatens Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal nationwide. It did just that
This case, captioned Dobbs vs Jackson Women's Health Organization, is the impetus for the anticipated ruling overturning Roe. v. Wade. The case at issue hinges on the constitutionality of a Mississippi abortion law and the justices will determine if it is lawful to have an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In the draft, Associate Justice Samuel Alito contends that the U.S. Constitution "makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision." And the court's 6-3 majority is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade without question. If and when Roe v Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, the nation's high court will, in turn, relegate authority to the states to determine abortion rights like in Texas and Oklohoma, which in May passed the strictest abortion law in American history.
Roe v. Wade is under attack now more than ever. We shall rise up here in the largely Black city of Cleveland across racial, ethic, gender, religious, socioeconomic and other lines. Our bodies. Our choice. We shall stand together as one as we fight for reproductive rights and Civil Rights, and the future of our children.

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor. Coleman is a seasoned Black Cleveland journalist who trained at the Call and Post Newspaper for 17 years and an experienced investigative and political reporter. She is the most read independent journalist in Ohio per Alexa.com

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL
Last Updated on Friday, 24 June 2022 15:40

Republican judge in Cuyahoga County in Cleveland ignores plea agreement and sentences Democratic former mayor to jail....Was the sentence by Judge Synenberg of former Newburgh Hts mayor Trevor Elkins just, or was it politically motivated?

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Pictured are Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg, former Newburgh Hts mayor Trevor Elkins, and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley (wearing white shirt)

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com

By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief

CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM- CLEVELAND, Ohio-A Republican Cuyahoga County common pleas judge in Cleveland, Ohio ignored a plea agreement between prosecutors and former Newburgh Hts. mayor Trevor Elkins, a Democrat, and handed the former suburban mayor jail time anyway, an option the judge could exercise under Ohio law.

In rejecting the  plea agreement that included no jail time, five years probation, and a fine, the judge issued a minimal fine and sentenced Elkins to six months in jail, with 150 days of that suspended, coupled with one year of community control and  200 hours of community service. If he completes the 200 hours of community service, the judge  said she would consider early termination of his probation.

Some sources say the judge's actions were politically motivated and others say Elkins, who is White, got off easy in terms of how the traditional Black defendant is treated by the assistant county prosecutors under County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley, a Democrat, and by the 34 largely White general division common judges of Cuyahoga County, which includes the majority Black city of Cleveland and is a Democratic stronghold.

Most criminal cases are resolved by plea bargains. In a plea bargain, a defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for concessions from prosecutors when it comes to sentencing. Courts also often encourage plea deals because they reduce backlogs, and judges typically abide by the plea deals. But not all of the time.

Though the practice is rare and even rarer when prosecutors strike plea deals with politicians,  judges can reject plea deals. And that is what happened on Tuesday when Judge Joan Synenberg, a former Cleveland Municipal Court judge who has served on the  general division common pleas bench in Cuyahoga County for 14 years, sentenced the former mayor  of Newburgh Hts to 30 days in jail, after he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors that stem from a state elections commission investigation regarding the misappropriation of campaign funds.

He was indicted by a county grand jury on felony charges, but ultimately pleaded guilty to a trio of misdemeanors, and he faced a fine and up to 180 days in jail after his plea.

At sentencing, Synenberg, a Republican with ties to Democrats who also helped her get elected initially to the common pleas bench, called Elkins' actions "unfathomable" and said he violated the public's trust.

The judge has a reputation of not always bowing down to prosecutors. She fought to free and exonerate a man who spent 20 years on death row after she learned police and prosecutors hid evidence that would have exonerated him.

In 2016, she became the first Cuyahoga County judge in three decades to reject a jury's death penalty recommendation when she sent a man who killed three people at a Warrensville Heights barbershop to prison for life instead. At the time the judge said the man's history of untreated mental problems and long time abuse when he was child merited her decision.

Elkins pleaded guilty in April to two counts of attempted election falsification and one count of attempted theft in office after a  state elections commission investigation found that he had used more than $134,000 of campaign funds for personal use between 2015 and 2019, money investigators say he spent at bars and restaurants, and for other ventures.

Elkins, 49, claimed the money was not from campaign donors and instead came from funds he deposited into his campaign account. He said he repaid the money and told investigators and the judge that he did not know that it is illegal to commingle personal and campaign funds.

The former mayor had complained prior to accepting a plea deal that he was allegedly being politically targeted for failing to go along with the staus quo within his own Democratic party and sources said that his backing of particular progressive Democratic candidates for office may have drawn the ire of some powerful Democrats.

The plea agreement that got him jail time anyway also calls for Elkins to pay a $750 fine and not to run for office in Cuyahoga County through 2028. He was also forced to resign from his $69,000 a year job as  mayor of the village of some 1,800 people.

His successor as mayor, former council president Gigi Traore, is a Black Democrat and the first Black to lead the tiny largely White village of working class people.

Activists said Tuesday that they are concerned when judges reject plea agreements for possible political reasons and that they question whether County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley, a big wig with the county Democratic party, was aware that Elkins might likely be hauled off to jail despite a plea deal with prosecutors that provided for no jail time.

 

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 August 2022 16:50

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The annual11th Congressional District Caucus Parade is Monday, September 2

11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, a Warrensville Heights Democrat who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus of Blacks in Congress. waives to the crowd last year at the annual 11th Congressional District Caucus Parade.  This year's parade kicks off on Monday, September 2 on Cleveland's east side at 10:00 am from E. 149th Street and Kinsman Road and ends at Luke Easter Park where the picnic will begin. The event will be replete with political speeches and entertainment from various sources, including local musicians and bands. The well-attended caucus parade was initiated by Democrat Louis Stokes, the retired congressman before Fudge, and the tradition was furthered by the late Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Fudges' predecessor. Stokes was the first Black congressperson from Ohio and Tubbs Jones was the first Black congresswoman from Ohio