R. Kelly faces harsh sentence for sex crimes

Disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly, the man behind “I Believe I Can Fly,.” was sentenced to 30 years in jail on racketeering and sex trafficking charges, CNN reported. 

The sentenced was at the higher end of the scale for the man legally known as Robert Sylvester Kelly.

Prosecutors were asking for more than 25 years “for his conviction on charges of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which bars transporting people across state lines for prostitution,” Reuters reported.

“They argued he demonstrated a ‘callous disregard’ for his victims and showed no remorse

Defense attorneys, meanwhile, asked the judge for 10 or less.

Anything more, Kelly’s attorneys said, would be “tantamount to a life sentence.”

Kelly was convicted last September on charges he used his fame to ensnare young women via his fame, only to isolate and sexually abuse them.

Judge Ann Donnelly took the side of the prosecution, sentencing Kelly to over 30 years.

“You left in your wake a trail of broken lives,” she said.

She added that while Kelly’s own sexual abuse at the hands of a family member and landlord at the age of 10 may have led to Kelly becoming a predator, she didn’t afford him much sympathy for it.

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

Kelly’s victims praised the sentence.

“I started this journey 30 years ago,” said Jovante Cunningham, a former backup singer for Kelly.

“There wasn’t a day in my life up until this moment that I actually believed that the judicial system would come through for Black and brown girls. I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors and very pleased with the outcome.”

Kelly had been dogged by allegations of sexual improprieties from the beginning of his career in the 1990s, including a 2002 arrest for molestation of an underage girl. He was found not guilty.

However, 2019’s “Surviving R. Kelly” — a Lifetime documentary — helped revive the case against him and convinced more victims to come forward.