R. Kelly is facing further accusations of abuse and underage sex after a woman claiming she first met the R&B singer as a teenager came forward with fresh allegations. Jerhonda Pace spoke to Jim DeRogatis and BuzzFeed, who reported in July that a number of women are living in a "cult" led by Kelly.
Now 24, Pace told BuzzFeed that she met Kelly when she was 15 and began a sexual relationship with him at 16. She claims she was mentally and physically abused by the singer and accepted a financial settlement from him in exchange for her silence on the subject. She risks legal repercussions for speaking out, but said she was doing so out of fear for the women who are still living with him. Pace is considering pursuing criminal charges against Kelly.
Pace's story is filled with details and backed by sources with “firsthand knowledge of the situation.” Signed legal documents, letters between Pace and her attorneys, settlement drafts, probate court documents establishing an estate for Pace due to the civil settlement, and a payment made by Kelly’s management company to Pace are also cited.
She alleges that Kelly attempted to silence her when they relationship became sexual in 2009. They first met a year before when Kelly was facing 14 counts of making child pornography. Similar to the report in July, she claims most of their sexual encounters were filmed without her permission. She also corroborates reports that Kelly had certain "rules" for women to live by, including no phones and asking permission to shower, eat, use the bathroom, or leave. Breaking these rules, Pace alleges, would result in physical violence.
The pair's relationship ended in January 2010 when she says she was caught texting a friend. Pace says that an argument ensued and she was "slapped and choked" by the singer. She subsequently hired an attorney and a "large settlement" was negotiated between the two sides after Pace signed a nondisclosure agreement.
Speaking about her concerns for the women living with Kelly in Chicago, Pace says “If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that’s what I will do. 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.”
Kelly has adamantly denied allegations of wrongdoing since DeRogatis reported on the "cult" story in July. “The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest,” Kelly’s representative said in a statement to Pitchfork following these latest allegations.