The musician R. Kelly on Wednesday was sentenced to 30 years in prison for running a trafficking and sexual assault network for decades.
The singer, author and songwriter was convicted last year of extortion and sex trafficking, in a trial that gave voice to victims who previously believed their stories were being ignored because they were black women.
Today’s sentence ends with the slow fall of the world-famous “I Think I Can Fly” author, the 55-year-old who has remained beloved by legions of fans even after rumors of his abuse of underage girls began circulating throughout the 1990s.
A federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, convicted Kelly after hearing accusations that he used his team of counselors and agents to interview young girls and keep them silent.
He allegedly used his “fame, money, and popularity” to systematically “abuse children and young women for his sexual gratification,” prosecutors charged in writing earlier this month.
Several defendants testified that R. Kelly exposed them to sinister and sadistic whims when they were minors.
R. Kelly has been in prison without bail since 2019 and also faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago, in a trial set to begin August 15.
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