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R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison in New York Racketeering and Sex Trafficking Case

R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday in New York federal court to 30 years in prison after being convicted last year on racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

After decades of accusations of sexual misconduct, the disgraced R&B singer was found guilty in September of all nine counts including one charge of racketeering and eight counts of violations of the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law.

Prosecutors say he used his celebrity status and wealth to lure women, as well as underage girls and boys, for sex.

Prior to the sentencing, more than six of Kelly’s victims read witness statements detailing the impact his abuse had on their lives. One woman, identified only as “Angela” referred to the 55-year-old as the Pide Piper who lured his victims with his fame and money, the New York Times reports.

“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” she said. “You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification,” she added.

A woman, only identified as Jane Doe 2 described in detail how Kelly would return from sweaty basketball games and force her to perform oral sex on him. Another victim, Kitti Jones, said the singer did things to her she plans to take to her grave.

Federal prosecutors in New York previously recommended the award-winning singer be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison stating that the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer showed no remorse and for decades and “exhibited a callous disregard” for the trauma he caused his abuse victims. They also write Kelly’s actions were “fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct” to the law.

Kelly’s lawyer argued he should be sentenced to 10 or fewer years, saying that the court’s understanding of the appropriate sentencing range is flawed.

Regardless, Judge Ann M. Donnelly was firm with her sentencing.

Federal prosecutors previously detailed the magnitude of the singer’s crimes in a 31-page memo stating that “with the aid of his inner circle and over a period of decades, the defendant preyed upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification.”

“He lured young girls and boys into his orbit, often through empty or conditioned promises of assistance in developing a career in the entertainment industry or simply by playing into the minors’ understandable desire to meet and spend time with a popular celebrity.”

“He committed these crimes using his fame and stardom as both a shield, which prevented close scrutiny or condemnation of his actions,” prosecutors wrote. “And a sword, which gave him access to wealth and a network of enablers to facilitate his crimes, and an adoring fan base from which to cull his victims.”

“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account.”

In August, Kelly will face a second trial in Chicago on charges of child pornography and witness tampering.

He also faces four separate charges alleging sexual abuse in state court in Chicago and a child prostitution charge in Minnesota.

Kelly has been in jail without bail since 2019.

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