Buzzfeed has dropped another explosive article from Jim DeRogatis, this time bringing to the fore a young woman who says that she was abused by R. Kelly and that the singer once paid her to be silent about their relationship. These new allegations follow a bombshell piece from last month, which explored claims that Kelly is holding young women in what family members have described to police and reporters as a “sex cult.”
According to Buzzfeed, Jerhonda Pace (nee Johnson) says she met R. Kelly in 2008 outside of his child pornography case. Just 16 years old, she was a devoted fan who had even given interviews to various media outlets during the trial, during which she dismissed the allegations against him. Their meeting—which led to Kelly bringing Pace to his Olympia Fields, Illinois home—developed into an alleged sexual relationship that Pace would be paid to keep a secret via nondisclosure agreements.
The report goes on to detail Pace’s encounters with Kelly, during which Kelly would allegedly film their sexual activity without her permission (she says she was a virgin at the time, which Kelly found to be “exciting;” he was approximately 41 years old when they met) and became increasingly controlling over time.
Pace, now a 24-year-old mother of three, says she was “mentally and physically abused” by Kelly, was told to lie about her age, and had to follow a set of “rules” whenever she was inside of his home.
“At the time, I didn’t know what I liked, honestly,” Pace says. “I just knew that I liked his music, so I was pretty much accepting of anything that came with him at the time.”
Pace’s claims have been vetted by “several individuals with firsthand knowledge of the situation,” says Buzzfeed. Pace tells the news outlet she’s choosing to break a signed nondisclosure agreement out of concern for the women allegedly being held by Kelly.
“If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that’s what I will do,” Pace says. “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.”
But Kelly’s reps are denying the allegations.
“The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest,” a statement issued on Tuesday morning reads. “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.”
Shortly after initial reports of Kelly’s cult, 21-year-old Jocelyn Savage told TMZ she was doing fine. Since then, Savage’s parents—along with the parents of an 18-year-old singer from Florida—have said there is an ongoing federal investigation into Kelly, though a spokesman for the FBI declined Buzzfeed‘s request for comment.
“I just really hope I can help these women out,” Pace says. “Kelly needs to be stopped.”
Read the full story here.