Editor’s note: The following contains explicit descriptions of sexual and physical abuse and coercion.
It has been less than a week since the trial of R. Kelly began in a Brooklyn federal court, but well over two decades since allegations of sexual predation and abuse began swirling around the R&B entertainer. Given the number of accusers, reports, and even two explosive documentaries, it is incredible to consider the fact that, as the New York Times recently pointed out, “not until Wednesday, on the first day of his long-awaited criminal trial, did one of his accusers take the witness stand to testify against the disgraced R&B superstar.”
That accuser was Jerhonda Pace, who, as we reported last Thursday, was the first accuser to take the stand for what would become two days of testimony. One of six women whose accusations are the focus of the current criminal trial; as reported by our sister site, Jezebel, a second took the stand on Monday. Identified as “Jane Doe #5" in court documents, she both echoed a claim made by Pace that Kelly had also infected her with herpes, but also testimony from former Kelly tour manager Demetrius Smith that the entertainer illegally married protégé Aaliyah because the 15-year-old was pregnant. Jane, who says her five-year relationship with Kelly began when she was 17, also testified that Kelly forced her into having an abortion in 2017.
Jane’s testimony continued on Tuesday, where she stated that “she was forced to have sex with a man Kelly referred to as ‘Nephew’ as punishment for breaking one of the singer’s rules,” as reported by HuffPost.
“He said he had been grooming ‘Nephew’ since he was young like me,” she said, adding that Kelly told her “not to embarrass him” and please Nephew sexually like she pleases Kelly.
Doe said Kelly came into the hotel room with Nephew, who was naked. Kelly took off his clothes as well, she said, and started filming Nephew and Doe having oral sex. She said Kelly instructed them on what to do to each other as he filmed.
When prosecutors asked if Doe wanted to have sex with Nephew, she responded: “Never,” adding later that “it was punishment.”
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Jane also testified that Kelly would manipulate his “girlfriends” by claiming that their parents had essentially sold them to him. Ironically, one of the many charges Kelly is currently facing in New York is sex trafficking.
“He would say that we were basically worthless and that we did not mean anything to them,” she said of Kelly’s comments about the girlfriends’ parents. “He would basically say that they had sold us to him … given us to him.”
Kelly allegedly told her that an associate of his had “given my parents a few bricks in exchange for me.” (The woman did not provide testimony indicating that her parents had accepted drugs in exchange for giving her to Kelly; she also did not provide testimony indicating that they knew about the abuse.)
Jane Doe #5 was apparently one of the two women then living with Kelly who appeared on television to speak in his defense during his March 2019 interview with Gayle King.
“Were you truthful when you spoke to Gayle King?” she was asked on Tuesday, Vulture reported.
“I was not,” she responded.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, help is available at the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or National Sexual Violence Resource Center.