Just one month after two sets of parents accused R. Kelly of holding their daughters hostage in an abusive “cult," a woman has come forward with new allegations of underage sex and physical abuse. In an interview with BuzzFeed News published on Monday, Aug. 21, Jerhonda Pace (formerly Jerhonda Johnson) claimed she had a sexual relationship with R. Kelly, now 50, when she was a teen.
Though she previously signed an NDA and reportedly accepted cash settlements to stay silent, Jerhonda, 24, told BuzzFeed that she decided to speak out in hopes that she can help other alleged victims.
"If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that's what I will do," the Chicago native — who is now married with children — 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.”
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Jerhonda revealed that she idolized R. Kelly as a child, and finally got the chance to meet him when she was 15 years old. In May 2009 — one year after R. Kelly was acquitted for child pornography — Jerhonda was invited to a party at the R&B star’s mansion in Illinois by one of his employees. Though she admitted she was slightly “nervous” to go to the event, she ended up attending. When she finally got face time with R. Kelly, she did not disclose her age.
In June 2009, Jerhonda — who was only 16 — met up with the Grammy winner again. At that time, she claims she and R. Kelly engaged in oral sex. (The age of consent in Illinois is 17.) Days later, Jerhonda returned to the “Ignition” singer’s house where she allegedly had sex with him after he served her an alcoholic beverage.
Jerhonda told BuzzFeed that her relationship with R. Kelly lasted for a total of seven months. In July 2009, Jerhonda — who claimed that R. Kelly would often initiate sexual acts without permission — told him that she was 16. According to Jerhonda, R. Kelly told her “things were fine” and instructed her to "tell anyone who asked that she was 19, and act like she was 25.”
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Jerhonda eventually called it quits with R. Kelly after she caught him texting another girl. She told BuzzFeed that their last interaction was rather violent. “I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on,” she claimed. Though she says R. Kelly could technically sue her for speaking out, Jerhonda is no longer afraid.
“I'm really not worried about it anymore,” she explained. “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.”
R. Kelly has strongly denied Jerhonda’s claims. "The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest," his rep said in a statement to BuzzFeed. "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."