R Kelly accuser tells court: He made me dress like a girl scout and wear pigtails

·3-min read
Artist’s impression of heavily pregnant Jerhonda Pace  (AP)
Artist’s impression of heavily pregnant Jerhonda Pace (AP)

A woman who claims R&B superstar R Kelly abused her as a teenager told a court he often videoed their sexual encounters and demanded she dress like a girl scout.

Jerhonda Pace told jurors she was a 16-year-old virgin and a member of Kelly’s fan club when he invited her to his mansion in 2010.

While there, she had to follow “Rob’s rules”, a court in Brooklyn, New York heard.

The ‘rules’ allegedly restricted how she could dress, who she could speak with and when she could use the bathroom.

Ms Pace said the Grammy-winning singer, 54 — born Robert Sylvester Kelly — sometimes demanded she wear pigtails and “dress like a girl scout” during sex acts he recorded.

Kelly, who enjoyed a 30-year career, is best known for his 1996 smash I Believe I Can Fly.

R Kelly in 2019 leaving a hearing for his sex abuse case in Chicago, Illinois (AFP via Getty Images)
R Kelly in 2019 leaving a hearing for his sex abuse case in Chicago, Illinois (AFP via Getty Images)

But it is alleged he was a “predator” who hid behind his fame and fortune to target women, girls and boys.

On Thursday, Ms Pace wept during Kelly’s sex-trafficking trial when a prosecutor asked her to read out loud from a journal entry describing how he allegedly beat and choked her the last time they were together.

Ms Pace, who had remained stoic during nearly two days on the witness stand, read how Kelly cursed at her and slapped her three times, telling her, “It’s not going to be an open fist next time.”

She wrote that he choked her and sexually assaulted her before she “became fed up with him” and left in 2010.

The witness, who is pregnant and only a few days from her due date, asked for a break so she could compose herself.

When she resumed, Kelly’s defence attorney Deveraux Cannick sought to show Ms Pace hid her true motivations regarding Kelly and deceived him by lying about her age.

“You were in fact stalking him, right?” Mr Cannick asked during cross examination.

“That is not right,” she responded.

R Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick  is surrounded by reporters as he leaves Brooklyn Federal court (AP)
R Kelly’s attorney Deveraux Cannick is surrounded by reporters as he leaves Brooklyn Federal court (AP)

Ms Pace had testified she told Kelly she was 19 when they met but had informed him she was only 16 by the time he sexually abused her.

Mr Cannick confronted her with a lawsuit settlement she signed indicating she agreed she never revealed to Kelly that she was a minor. Pace said it was in exchange for hush money.

Kelly’s defence claim he is being victimised by groupies who hounded him at shows, only to turn against him years later when during the #MeToo movement.

Prosecutors showed jurors screenshots from Ms Pace’s phone showing several communications with Kelly in January 2010, including a text from him reading, “Please call.”

There was also a photo of her with “Rob” tattooed to her chest. She said she’s since “covered it up with a black heart.”

Ms Pace, the trial’s first witness, was among multiple female accusers — mostly referred to in court as “Jane Does” — expected to testify at a trial scheduled to last several weeks.

Other likely witnesses include cooperating former associates who have never spoken publicly before about their experiences with Kelly.

In 2008, Kelly was acquitted in a child abuse images case in Chicago.

The reprieve allowed his music career to continue until the #MeToo era caught up with him, emboldening alleged victims to come forward.

The women’s stories got global exposure with Lifetime’s documentary Surviving R Kelly, which explored how an entourage of supporters protected Kelly and silenced his victims for decades, foreshadowing the federal racketeering conspiracy case that landed Kelly in jail in 2019.

The trial is occurring before an anonymous jury of seven men and five women.

The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

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