Jerhonda Pace was age 16 when she first met R. Kelly in 2009 at a party and he took her virginity, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said during her opening statements in the racketeering trial against R. Kelly held in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Wednesday. Pace, the first prosecution witness, also took the stand and testified that she had initially been a fan of the star when they met, but things turned abusive, as Reuters reports.
During her testimony, Pace said that he insisted that she call him “Daddy” and that she needed Kelly’s permission to use the bathroom. She said things ended after he choked her until she passed out. She said Kelly knew she was 16 when they had intercourse because she claimed she showed him identification, but she alleged he told her to pretend she was 19 to others.
“He told me he was going to train me to please him sexually,” Pace said. She also testified that he had given her herpes. Prosecutors added that DNA evidence from a shirt Pace had worn at the time matched Kelly’s.
Pace, who is listed as Jane Doe 4, is one of six women and girls named in the indictment, four were underage at the time. During her opening statement, Melendez said Kelly and Pace spent six months together, during which Kelly allegedly recorded them having sex and was violent with her; Pace claims she was forced to write and sign a letter saying that she stole from him as collateral. Pace will continue her testimony on Thursday.
In June 2019, Kelly was arrested in Chicago and was indicted for child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice. Brooklyn prosecutors also charged Kelly with racketeering the same day, designating him as an “enterprise” that helped him “prey upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography, and forced labor.” Kelly is also facing charges of violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transport of people across state lines for sexual activity, as well as sex-related charges in Minnesota. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges.