Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly is headed to prison for three decades.
A judge on Wednesday sentenced Kelly to 30 years in prison after he was convicted last year on sex trafficking and racketeering charges. "The public has to be protected from behaviors like this," the judge told Kelly, according to The New York Times.
Kelly had faced allegations of sexually abusing underage girls going back to the 1990s, but he was not found guilty until 2021, when a jury convicted him on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. Prosecutors said Kelly ran a criminal enterprise that involved preying "upon women and girls who attended his concerts," and the charges centered around the alleged sexual abuse of six victims. Kelly was previously acquitted on child pornography charges in a separate trial in 2008.
Federal prosecutors recommended Kelly be sentenced to over 25 years in prison due to his "callous disregard for the very real effects that his crimes had on his victims," CNN reports. They also said Kelly has shown no remorse, believing his "musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct — no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to others — to the strictures of the law." Kelly had pleaded not guilty, and he has long denied the charges of sexual abuse.
Multiple accusers spoke out during the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, per the Times, with one woman saying, "Many of us have been waiting for this day to come."