Last month, Jim DeRogatis, the veteran music journalist who’s been covering the R. Kelly sex-abuse allegations for many years, published a Buzzfeed piece about how Kelly had apparently been imprisoning women in what amounted to a sex cult — controlling their access to the outside world, confiscating their cell phones, telling them what to wear and say, and threatening them with physical and emotional abuse if they disobeyed him. Since then, Kelly’s alleged captive has denied the claims, and a woman from Kelly’s inner circle said that the women around Kelly are “completely manipulated and brainwashed.” And now DeRogatis has written another report, this one about a woman who says that she was having sex with Kelly at 16 and who has broken her non-disclosure agreement to speak publicly about what he’s doing.
In Buzzfeed, DeRogatis writes of Jerhonda Pace, who met Kelly when she was 15. Then a big fan of Kelly, she was attending his child-pornography trial, where she defended Kelly to the press. Pace says that Kelly invited her to a party at his house when the trial ended, and they began a sexual relationship when she was 16. (She tells Buzzfeed that she lied about her age at the time, claiming to be 19.) Pace also says that, as they continued to have sex, Kelly gave her alcohol and filmed their encounters without her permission. Eventually, she says that she told him her age and gave him her ID, and nothing changed, though Kelly told her that she should say she was 19 and act like she was 25.
Eventually, Pace says that she broke things off with Kelly when Kelly caught her texting a friend. She says that he slapped, choked, and spat on her. Later a Chicago attorney took Pace as a client, advising her to pursue a cash settlement rather than pressing criminal charges. Pace took a polygraph test, repeating all her claims against Kelly, and the test results claimed that she was truthful. Pace, who was still a minor, was awarded a cash settlement in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement, and she now says that she’s only been paid a fraction of what she was owed. She says that, even though she’s opening herself up to a lawsuit from Kelly for breaking her NDA, she’s coming forward now out of concern for the women who are still in Kelly’s circle:
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… I just really hope I can help these women out. Kelly needs to be stopped.
Pace now says that she’s considering filing criminal charges. There’s a whole lot more damning, disturbing evidence in the Buzzfeed piece, and you can read it here.