Jun 29, 2022 - Economy & Business

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison on sex trafficking charges

Singer R. Kelly is seen at the Daley Center in Chicago.
R. Kelly is seen at the Daley Center in Chicago. Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

R&B singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison over a scheme to lure young fans into systematic sexual abuse, AP reports.

Driving the news: The 55-year-old singer-songwriter was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking last year. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the sentence Wednesday after hearing from several survivors, per AP.

  • Multiple victims came forward during the sentencing. Kelly was denied any wrongdoing, per AP. He did not testify during the trial.

What they're saying: “Today, R. Kelly’s survivors saw our federal court system hand down justice for the crimes of which he was convicted last year," said Cook County state's attorney Kim Foxx, whose office charged Kelly with sexual abuse in 2019, in a statement sent to Axios.

  • "I applaud the courageous survivors for speaking up and making sure no other person will become his victim ever again. Now, let us remember to equally focus on all victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence who also deserve justice and protection.”

The big picture: The sentence marks the end of a massive downfall for Kelly, who went from a popular '90s R&B star to a disgraced artist.

Allegations that Kelly abused young girls began in the '90s. In 1997, a woman sued Kelly for alleged sexual battery and sexual harassment when she was a minor, AP reports.

  • He later faced criminal child pornography charges connected to a different girl in Chicago, AP reports. He was acquitted in 2008.
  • Multiple witnesses accused Kelly of "[making the girls] have sex with him and his other 'girlfriends' whenever he wanted, often filming the encounters and directing their every move," beginning in the 1990s onward, per Buzzfeed News.

Go deeper: R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking

Editor's note: This article was updated with a statement from Cook County state's attorney.

Go deeper