Allegations began to surface last month claiming that R. Kelly is holding women against their will, and now, another woman claiming to have suffered abuse from Kelly has come forward. According to a new report from BuzzFeed News, a now 24-year-old woman named Jerhonda Pace claims she had an underage sexual relationship with Kelly. Despite the fact that she claims to be in violation of an NDA she signed as part of her supposed legal settlement with the singer, she claims she's sharing her story in the hopes of helping other women who have allegedly faced abuse.
Pace claimed to BuzzFeed that she started out as a huge fan of Kelly's and then their relationship took a different turn. In May 2008, Pace — then known by her maiden name, Jerhonda Johnson — attended Kelly's child pornography trial, and a year later claims she was invited to a party at his Olympia Fields, Illinois home. She claims she told Kelly she was 19, although she was only 16 at the time, and she alleges they had oral sex. Pace claims that for the next seven months they continued to engage in a sexual relationship that was often videotaped.
Kelly's rep released the following statement to Buzzfeed in response to Pace's claims:
The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest. 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.
Bustle reached out to Kelly's rep and lawyer for additional comment, including on the reported settlement and NDA, and received the same statement as above from his rep.
Pace claims that when Kelly found out that she was 16, he said that she should tell anyone who asked that she was 19. When she allegedly began to spend weekends in his Olympia Fields home, Kelly allegedly required her to follow a set of rules that dictated what she wore, as well as allowing him to control when she used the bathroom, what she ate, and where she went. She alleges that breaking the rules came with mental and physical consequences, and alleges that an argument with Kelly resulted in her being "slapped," "choked," and "spit on," so she left and decided to seek legal counsel.
Pace found a lawyer, Susan E. Loggans, who has defended other R. Kelly accusers in the past. With her help, Pace was reportedly granted a settlement and reportedly signed an NDA and agreeing not to pursue further charges against him.
BuzzFeed News reports that it obtained documents including a polygraph test Pace took about her alleged connection to Kelly, correspondents between Pace's legal team and Kelly's legal team, and proof of payment from Kelly's management to Pace.
Pace claimed to Buzzfeed News:
"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. I’m just going forward with my head held high.”
Now, Pace is considering pressing criminal charges against Kelly, she claims, in order to help other women who may still be living with him, despite what she reportedly agreed to in their settlement.