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R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Sex Trafficking Case
By Tom Hays and Bobby China Calvan
Published June 29, 2022

FILE – In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. The R&B superstar known for his anthem “I Believe I Can Fly,” was convicted Monday in a sex trafficking trial after decades of avoiding criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for using his fame to sexually abuse young fans, including some who were just children, in a systematic scheme that went on for decades.

Through tears and anger, several of Kelly’s accusers told a court, and the singer himself, that he had preyed on them and misled his fans.

“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” said one unnamed survivor, directly addressing a Kelly who kept his hands folded and his eyes downcast.

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“Do you remember that?” she asked.

Kelly, 55, didn’t speak at his sentencing and showed no visible reaction on hearing his penalty, which also includes a $100,000 fine. The Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling songwriter was convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking at a trial that gave voice to accusers who had previously wondered if their stories were being ignored because they were Black women.

Victims “have sought to be heard and acknowledged,” another one of his accusers said at his sentencing. “We are no longer the preyed-on individuals we once were.”

A third woman, sobbing and sniffling as she spoke, said Kelly’s conviction renewed her confidence in the legal system.

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