When Jerhonda Pace met R. Kelly, the singer was on trial for child pornography. At 16, Pace began a sexual relationship with Kelly that eventually pulled her into what some have described as Kelly’s “sex cult.”
As Pace told BuzzFeed News, as a young, star-struck teen, she thought Kelly was wrongly accused of improper relationships with underage girls, at least in part because his accuser never testified in court. That may be why Pace was flattered to meet Kelly and ended up losing her virginity to the star.
Pace said she told Kelly repeatedly she was 16 years old, but he was unconcerned. She began spending weekends at Kelly’s Illinois home and embarked on a seven-month affair with the musician. Pace told BuzzFeed that Kelly often taped them together and added:
“I had to call him ‘daddy,’ and he would call me ‘baby.’ He wanted me to have two pigtails, and I had to go out and find little schoolgirl outfits.”
According to Vulture, Pace recently revealed that staying with Kelly meant being “trained” in how to please him by another woman. In the video below, Pace told the hosts of “The Real” about being summoned to Kelly’s tour bus to find both the singer and another woman naked and ready to “teach” her:
“I guess he saw that I was looking uneasy. I wanted to know what am I doing. That’s when he told me to look at her and [said], ‘She’s going to teach you everything you need to know. She’s going to please you.’ And he told me to remove my clothes […] I just went along with whatever he was asking me, but I was very scared. And he picked that up.”
Pace claimed that anyone staying in Kelly’s house had to follow rules about how to dress, surrender their phones, and ask permission to leave, eat, shower, or go to the bathroom. Disobedience resulted in both physical and mental abuse, and Pace said she was both slapped and choked while staying there.Screenshot/The Real Daytime
In 2010, Pace finally escaped the Kelly mansion. After lying about needing to get shoes for a party, Pace fled the house and never looked back. She told “The Real“:
“At that moment, when I knew I got out of the house, I was like, ‘I’m not going back. I refuse.’ […] I left everything behind. The only thing I had in my hand was a cellphone. That’s because, of course, you need to communicate with him to get back in.”
After escaping Kelly’s influence, Pace pondered going to the authorities, but ultimately, she decided to pursue a civil settlement instead. Pace told BuzzFeed her previous experience taught her it was futile to go to the police:
“If I was to get criminal charges, it would probably be like it was last time, where he wouldn’t get convicted.”
Pace passed a lie detector test regarding Kelly’s knowledge of her age, their sexual relationship, and the physical abuse. Soon after, she received a substantial settlement from the singer that included a nondisclosure agreement preventing her from revealing anything disparaging about the singer.
Although she knows that breaking the nondisclosure agreement means she could be sued, Pace told BuzzFeed she’s tired of keeping quiet:
“His music overshadows everything when it comes to his wrongdoings. Nobody thinks about the damage he’s done or is doing to young women, and his personal life means nothing when it comes to executives making money off of him.”
“I know speaking out against Kelly, Kelly could sue me. But I’m really not worried about it anymore. I feel like this is a healing process for me, because I’ve been holding this in for so many years, and to see that he always gets away with it, it’s just not right.”
Kelly has denied Pace’s allegations (as well as similar stories from other alleged victims and their families). A spokesman for Kelly told TMZ: “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed by the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such accusations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”