A new report from Buzzfeed details an alleged illegal relationship between Jerhonda Pace (then Jerhonda Johnson) and singer R. Kelly. Pace says that she had sex multiple times with Kelly before she was 17 (the age of consent in Illinois), that the singer filmed their encounters without permission and that he was abusive towards her on several occasions. Pace’s story follows a July report from Buzzfeed which cited multiple sources accusing Kelly of leading a “cult” that brainwashed young women and kept them confined on two of his properties.
Though Pace signed a nondisclosure agreement about her relationship with Kelly in exchange for a settlement, she said she felt compelled to tell her story in the hopes of aiding any women who are still connected with the singer. “If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that’s what I will do,” she told Buzzfeed. “He’s brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson.”
Pace met Kelly when he was on trial for child pornography in 2008. An employee of Kelly’s later friended her on Myspace and invited her to a party at the singer’s house. Kelly gave Pace his number, and the two allegedly had oral sex in June 2009. According to Buzzfeed, Kelly then “made his first attempt to ensure that she did not talk about their sexual relationship by having her write out and sign letters stating that she had stolen jewelry and cash from him and that her parents had set her up to blackmail him.”
The next time they met up, Kelly reportedly gave Pace a drink – “I was drunk, because I wasn’t used to alcohol,” she told Buzzfeed – and they had sex. Their relationship continued for seven months; According to Pace, Kelly filmed many of their sexual encounters without asking Pace’s permission. Pace informed Kelly that she was underage on July 17th, 2009, and the singer reportedly “told her things were fine.”
Pace said she remembers having to follow Kelly’s “rules” – rules similar to those outlined in Buzzfeed‘s first report of the singer’s “cult.” She recalled having to dress in loose-fitting clothes, turning her phone over to Kelly and having to ask permission to eat, use the bathroom, shower and leave the house. If she violated any of the rules, she was “mentally and physically abused.”
“The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest,” a rep for the singer told Buzzfeed. “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.”
Pace told Buzzfeed she ended her relationship with Kelly in 2010. “I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on,” she claimed. With help from a lawyer who has negotiated numerous settlements with Kelly on behalf of women that have accused him of abusive or illegal sexual relationships, Pace got a settlement from the singer in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.
“I know speaking out against Kelly, Kelly could sue me,” she said. “But I’m really not worried about it anymore.”
Watch a timeline of accusations, lawsuits and charges against R. Kelly, from marrying 15-year-old Aaliyah to new allegations leading a “cult.”