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Opinion: R. Kelly Has Been Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Daniella Cressman

Finally, R. Kelly has been sentenced to prison for 30 years. He abused young, innocent fans for decades.

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"Disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for using his fame to sexually abuse young fans, including some who were just children, in a systematic scheme that went on for decades." —Tom Hays, Bobby Caina Calvan, and Jennifer Peltz

Many who had survived R. Kelly's abuse spoke out, teary-eyed.

Through tears and anger, several of Kelly’s accusers told a court in New York City, and the singer himself, that he had misled and preyed upon them. 'You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,' said one unnamed survivor, directly addressing Kelly, who kept his hands folded and his eyes downcast. 'Do you remember that?' she asked. Kelly, 55, didn’t give a statement and showed no reaction on hearing his penalty, which also included a $100,000 fine. He has denied wrongdoing, and he plans to appeal his conviction. —Tom Hays, Bobby Caina Calvan, and Jennifer Peltz

It saddens me that R. Kelly has not had the courage to take responsibility for what he has done. He is guilty of sex-trafficking and abusing many women.

Unfortunately, quite a few survivors were concerned that their stories were not going to be taken seriously in court due to the color of their skin and their gender: he abused many black women.

"The Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling songwriter was found guilty last year of racketeering and sex trafficking at a trial that gave voice to accusers who had previously wondered if their stories were being ignored because they were Black women." —Tom Hays, Bobby Caina Calvan, and Jennifer Peltz

Many felt that R. Kelly finally being sentenced to 30 years in prison renewed their faith in the United States' legal system, which has too often been biased over the years.

"Victims 'are no longer the preyed-on individuals we once were,' another one of his accusers said at the sentencing. '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,' she added outside court. A third woman, sobbing and sniffling as she addressed the court, also said Kelly’s conviction renewed her faith in the legal system. The woman said Kelly victimized her after she went to a concert when she was 17. 'I was afraid, naive and didn’t know to handle the situation,' she said, so she didn’t speak up at the time. 'Silence,' she said, 'is a very lonely place.'" —Tom Hays, Bobby Caina Calvan, and Jennifer Peltz

Sexual predators deserve to be behind bars. The pain they inflict is so deep it is impossible to put into words.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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