R&B Star R. Kelly Sentenced to 30 Years in Jail for Sex Trafficking

American singer-songwriter R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty on nine counts in a racketeering and sex trafficking case.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York issued the ruling Wednesday. Judge Ann Donnelly told Kelly: “You were a person who had great advantages — worldwide fame and celebrity and untold money.”

 “You took advantage of their hopes and dreams, holding teenagers in your house trapped. You were at the top of your organization and you raped and beat them, separated them from their families and forced them to do unspeakable things,” she added.

Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence the R&B superstar to more than 25 years in prison. However, his legal team asked for 10 years or less, saying the original request was “tantamount to a life sentence.”

Judge Donnelly decided to give the singer a 30-year jail sentence, saying she considered his traumatic childhood. According to Kelly’s defense attorneys, he was repeatedly sexually abused by a family member and a landlord.

“It may explain, at least in part, what led to your behavior,” the judge said. “It most surely is not an excuse.”

Judge Donnelly also told the musician, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, that he had left “a trail of broken lives” in his wake.

In September last year, the “Ignition” singer was found guilty on nine counts, including one charge of racketeering, one for breaching a sex trafficking law, and eight counts of Mann Act violations.

The sentence came after prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York charged Kelly for using his celebrity status and network of contacts to “target girls, boys and young women for his own sexual gratification.”

As the judge read her sentence, survivors of Kelly’s abuse held hands and began to pray. The R&B singer, who was wearing a tan prison uniform, showed no emotion.

However, he responded to the judge after his attorney Kelly Bonjean said he would not speak. “Yes, your honor, that’s my wish,” he said. It was his only comment in response to the sentence.

The court also heard statements from people linked to Kelly’s marriage to the late singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was only 15 and he was an adult.