R. Kelly is facing new allegations of underage sex and physical abuse.
In a newly-published report by BuzzFeed News, Jerhonda Pace, one of R. Kelly’s alleged victims, claims that she had multiple sexual interactions with Kelly before she was 17, which is the age of consent in Illinois. She also says that he filmed their sex acts without her permission and that he physically abused her on more than one occasion.
Pace, now a 24-year-old married mother of three, met Kelly during his child pornography case, when she would attend his court dates to offer support as a 15-year-old. Shortly after he was acquitted on those charges, one of his associates invited her to a party at Kelly’s mansion.
After meeting Kelly at his home, Pace says that she lied about her age, claiming to be 19. Soon after, the two engaged in oral sex and she says Kelly made her write out and sign letters claiming that she stole “jewelry and cash from him and that her parents had set her up to blackmail him.” The charges were untrue, she says, but she did as he requested.
The relationship continued from there. She says that he filmed their sex acts without her permission and that he had other demands. “I had to call him ‘daddy,’ and he would call me ‘baby,’” she said. “He wanted me to have two pigtails, and I had to go out and find little schoolgirl outfits.”
A month after their first sexual encounter, in July 2009, Pace says she told Kelly that she was 16 and presented him with her state identification card. Kelly told her that “things were fine, but that she should tell anyone who asked that she was 19, and act like she was 25,” according to the report. Their relationship would go on for months after that.
Pace’s revelations come on the heels of another BuzzFeed News report that details accounts from former members of R. Kelly’s inner circle, claiming that the singer abuses women inside of a cult-like environment. Pace supports some of those claims with her description of their relationship.
According to Pace, Kelly made her follow rules, including wearing baggy clothing, handing over her cellphone, and asking for permission to use the bathroom, shower, eat, or leave the Olympia Fields mansion that they lived in. Breaking the rules, she said, would result in mental or physical abuse.
But Pace ended her relationship with Kelly in January 2010, when the singer caught her texting a friend without his permission. “I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on,” she said. When she left, she contacted Chicago attorney Susan E. Loggans, who promoted the fact that her clients included “two underage girls who claimed the R&B superstar R. Kelly had sex with them.”
It was true that Loggans represented “numerous” women who filed lawsuits against R. Kelly and then received undisclosed settlements. After contacting Loggans, Pace received a large settlement in exchange for a signed nondisclosure agreement and the promise that she would not pursue any charges against Kelly in the future.
But now, Pace says that she is opening up with the hopes of helping others. “I know speaking out against Kelly, Kelly could sue me. But I’m really not worried about it anymore,” she explains. “I feel like this is a healing process for me, because I’ve been holding this in for so many years, and to see that he always gets away with it, it’s just not right. I’m just going forward with my head held high.”
BuzzFeed says that several sources support Pace’s claims and they reviewed multiple documents before publishing the report, including “signed legal documents, drafts of settlements between Kelly and Pace, correspondence between Pace and the attorneys involved, a polygraph test performed at the request of her attorney regarding her relationship with Kelly, a probate court document opening an estate for Pace as the result of a civil settlement, and a subsequent payment made by Kelly’s management company to Pace.”
Meanwhile, Kelly’s representative say that the singer denies these accusations the same way he denied the previous BuzzFeed News report. “The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest,” said his rep. “It is clear these continuing stories are the result of the effort of those with personal agendas who are working in concert to interfere with and damage his career. Mr. Kelly again denies any and all wrong doing and is taking appropriate legal action to protect himself from ongoing defamation.”