R. Kelly Accuser Comes Forward Alleging Underage Sex, Physical & Mental Abuse
By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 22, 2017 3:29PM
Getty Images / Photo: Mike Pont
Last month Buzzfeed published a report by Chicago music journalist Jim DeRogatis that brought to light new allegations that R. Kelly held several women in "cult"-like environment, controlling "what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records." On Monday night, Buzzfeed published a new report by DeRogatis in which a woman, 24-year-old Jerhonda Pace, accuses the R&B singer of underage sex and physical and mental abuse. She said is breaking a non-disclosure agreement to come forward in the wake of the previous allegations.
Pace met Kelly when she was 15 and a fan of Kelly. She attended the singer's 2008 court hearings in support of him, when he stood trial for 14 counts of child pornography. She was invited to Kelly's mansion the next year, when she was 16, to a party in suburban Olympia Fields, Illinois by a member of Kelly's team. During another visit soon after, Kelly and Pace (then Jehronda Johnson) had oral sex, and then Kelly had her write and sign letters that stated she stole jewelry and cash and that her parents sought to blackmail him, she told Buzzfeed. Pace denies having done any theft.
Pace said Kelly gave her alcohol before the two had sex on June 9, 2009. (“I was drunk, because I wasn’t used to alcohol," she told Buzzfeed.) Over the next seven months, the two had sex several times. Most encounters were filmed by Kelly without Pace's consent, she claims. "I had to call him ‘daddy,’ and he would call me ‘baby.’ He wanted me to have two pigtails, and I had to go out and find little schoolgirl outfits," she told Buzzfeed.
According to the report, Pace initially did not tell Kelly she was underage and later told investigators she claimed she was 19. Pace said she told the singer her age and showed him a state ID, which showed she was 16, on July 17, 2009.
Kelly was also allegedly strictly controlling in how she could behave in the house. DeRogatis reports:
"While she was in the mansion, she says, she had to follow Kelly’s “rules,” which included dressing in baggy clothes, turning over her phone, and asking permission to shower, eat, go to the bathroom, and leave the property. If she broke the rules, she says, she was mentally and physically abuse."
She broke off contact with Kelly in January 2010 when Kelly allegedly attacked her after she texted a friend. "I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on," she told Buzzfeed.
Pace hired Chicago attorney Susan E. Loggans, whose "firm has made extracting cash settlements from Kelly a specialized part of its practice," DeRogatis writes. She advised her client to pursue a settlement rather than levy charges. Loggans also had Pace take a lie-detector test. Buzzfeed notes of the polygraph results:
"The document [about the test ] details four questions that Pace was asked, including whether she had intercourse with Kelly, if she had told him she was 16, and whether he slapped, choked, and spit on her during an argument. She answered yes to all questions. “It is the opinion of this examiner, based upon an analysis of her polygraph records, that she is truthful in her answers,” Hunter [of F.L. Hunter and Associates] concluded."
The Buzzfeed article also cites various legal documents and correspondence between Pace and her legal team.
Pace was awarded a cash settlement (although se says she only received a fraction of the figure owed) and signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of the terms—which she says she is breaking in hopes that her coming forward might help others. “If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that’s what I will do,” Pace told Buzzfeed.. “I didn’t have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him. He’s brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson."
A Kelly representatives denied the claims on Tuesday morning in a statement. "The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest. 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," the representative said.
A Georgia official earlier this month called for a criminal investigation against Kelly. More than 36,000 people have signed a petition calling for RCA Records to drop Kelly in the wake of the original Buzzfeed report.
Read the full Buzzfeed report here.