In an interview with BuzzFeed News published on Monday, August 21, Jerhonda Pace (then Jerhonda Johnson) claims she had an underage sexual relationship with Kelly, 50, and that he had been physically abusive toward her on multiple occasions. She came forward with the accusations in hopes of helping other alleged victims, despite previously signing a nondisclosure agreement and reportedly accepting cash settlements.
"If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that's what I will do," she told the outlet. "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 24, claims she first met her musical idol when she was 15 years old. When he was on trial for child pornography in 2008, she attended the proceedings every day until his acquittal. They came face-to-face again in May 2009 after Kelly's friend and employee invited Pace to a party at the star's mansion in Illinois. She told BuzzFeed that she "was a bit nervous," but went to the event and did not disclose to Kelly that she was underage.
The Chicago native claims she and the "I Believe I Can Fly" crooner met again in June 2009 and engaged in oral sex. The alleged encounter occurred when she was 16. (The age of consent in Illinois is 17.) Four days later, she returned to his mansion, where he allegedly gave her an alcoholic drink before they had sex.
According to Pace, the relationship continued for seven months. She claims Kelly filmed many of their sexual encounters without asking for her permission. In July 2009, she informed him that she was 16, and he reportedly told her "things were fine" and instructed her to "tell anyone who asked that she was 19, and act like she was 25."
"I know speaking out against Kelly, Kelly could sue me," Pace, who also corroborated much of the alleged "cult" report, told BuzzFeed. "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 vehemently denied allegations of wrongdoing. "The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest," his rep said in a statement to Us. "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."
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