R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for masterminding scheme to sexually exploit underage children

The R&B singer will spend 30 years behind bars

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R&B singer R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a US federal court in New York for masterminding an elaborate scheme to entice and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children.

The former 90s superstar was branded a “predator” who utilised his fame and fortune to “prey on the young, the vulnerable, and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification” following his conviction.

He was convicted on multiple counts of racketeering, with the charges relating to bribery and forced labour, by a jury in September last year.

Kelly, 55, was also found in violation of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

At his sentencing hearing earlier today, the court heard impact statements from seven women, presented anonymously as "Jane Does", who confronted the disgraced singer over his "God-like complex" and said he used "fame and power" to entice his victims.

R&B star R. Kelly faces 30 years in prison
R&B star R. Kelly faces 30 years in prison

Dressed in a black face mask and grey prison uniform, the 55-year-old maintained a constant stare as the statements were read out.

"The pied piper of R&B, both in music and in technique and in approach," a woman using the pseudonym Angela said as she addressed him in the courtroom. "Success and love... you presented these glittering gems as if they were gold.

"With every addition of a new victim you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which soon became the breeding ground for your God-like complex.

"You were doing, saying and encouraging despicable things that no one should be doing. We reclaim our names from beneath the shadows of your afflicted trauma."

Another woman told the former R&B singer: "You are an abuser, you are shameless, you are disgusting."

The former chart-topping R&B singer, Robert Sylvester Kelly, initially denied all charges, with his lawyers condemning his accusers as "disgruntled groupies".

But the jury believed the survivors, leading to the former singer being found guilty on all nine charges - one charge of racketeering and eight counts of violating a law which prohibits transporting people across state lines for prostitution.

Kelly will face a second trial in Chicago in August, which could see additional convictions and increased prison time.

He is also accused of possessing child pornography and obstruction of justice.