Elizabeth Williams / AP
Editor’s Note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.
A woman testified in a Brooklyn federal courthouse during R. Kelly’s trial on Monday. In her testimony, she said Kelly forced her to have an abortion in 2017 and that he sexually and physically assaulted her during their five-year relationship.
The woman, “Jane”, is the second accuser to testify against Kelly in the New York federal trial, where the charges include racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sex trafficking. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.
In her testimony, “Jane” said that she met Kelly at the age of 17, in 2015. She was a high school student at the time and wanted to pursue an artistic career as an R&B singer. She had a heavy load of music lessons and extracurricular activities at school, hoped to get a music scholarship at the university, and performed professional concerts on her own.
She went with her parents to a music festival in Orlando, Florida where Kelly was performing. A member of her entourage gave her Kelly’s phone number, “Jane” said, and she and her parents had hoped the connection would help her develop her career.
“Jane” alleged that when she got the chance to audition for Kelly, he immediately pressured her into having sexual activity. (She said she initially told Kelly she was 18.) “I was against it,” she said. “I told him I didn’t come to please him. He continued to persist.” Eventually she gave in, in exchange for the chance to sing for him, and he told her that he would “take care of me for life,” she said.
During the hearing, she said, her parents requested a wellness check after turning off her phone at Kelly’s request. When the police arrived, she said, the police saw her legal ID card which showed she was 17, but left her with Kelly anyway. She quickly became one of the star’s girlfriends, leaving the house to live with him.
“I want to groom you”
“Jane” said she told Kelly her actual age as she neared her senior year, saying she had to go home to finish high school. He slapped her face with an open hand, she said, and walked away. Kelly’s later solution was that she would live with him in Chicago and homeschool under the putative care of the mother of one of his other girlfriends, who is called “Juice” in court. “Jane” lived with Kelly in Chicago and Atlanta, and accompanied him on tour.
During her testimony, “Jane” stated that soon after getting involved with Kelly, she was to follow her rules, such as not talking to men, including those employed by Kelly; only be allowed to wear shapeless and loose clothing; and not allowed to leave the rooms without his permission, even to the point of being isolated for days. If she didn’t follow her protocols, she said, she was spanked and suffered further humiliation.
She also said she was frequently forced to have sex with other women – including Kelly’s other girlfriends and women who worked for the singer – against her will, and all under direction. Kelly’s express. She said Kelly filmed the sexual encounters she had with him and with other people.
In a text message presented as proof, Kelly allegedly wrote to “Jane”: “I want to prepare you and be one hundred percent bound to you.”
The woman, who is now 23, has asked to remain anonymous as a victim of sex crimes. (In court documents, she is listed as Jane Doe # 5.)
Echoing a previous accuser
Much of “Jane’s” testimony echoes that of another accuser, Jerhonda Johnson Pace, who testified last week about having sex with Kelly while she was an underage during a six month relationship. Pace had testified that Kelly had given him genital herpes without telling him that he had the disease or taking precautions to avoid transmitting it, and that the singer had physically assaulted her. On Monday, “Jane” said Kelly also gave her genital herpes. It was so painful, she said, that “it got to the point where I couldn’t even physically walk.”
Last week, Kelly’s personal physician for about 25 years, Dr. Kris McGrath, testified that he diagnosed and started treating Kelly for genital herpes between 2000 and 2007. McGrath so often asked for prescriptions for drugs. for herpes at Kelly’s favorite pharmacy, the doctor said, “I had this Walgreens phone number memorized.”
McGrath, who is based in Chicago and is part of Northwestern University’s Faculty of Medicine, said he had never received direct payment for his services. Instead, Kelly took the doctor and his wife across the country to enjoy his performances and frequently socialized with the couple.
A former low-level aide named Anthony Navarro told court last week that he was a runner for Kelly, drove girls, cleaned studios and delivered packages for him. It was Navarro’s first job in the music industry; since then, he said, he has worked as a sound engineer with musicians like Taylor Swift, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
He also referred to what he called “Rob’s rules” for employees and for Kelly’s girlfriends. It was only in hindsight, Navarro said, that he realized how odd working for Kelly was in comparison.
“The things you had to do were a little uncomfortable,” Navarro said. “It was almost like the Twilight Zone. You walked in the door and it was like a different world, just a strange place.”
Kelly and Aaliyah’s wedding
Demetrius Smith, former tour director for Kelly, also ended his testimony on Monday. Smith reluctantly testified that he helped organize the wedding between Kelly and the late pop star Aaliyah. Smith said he bribed an employee of an Illinois state welfare office with $ 500 to obtain fake ID for Aaliyah, so that she and Kelly could apply for a marriage license. (Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, died in a plane crash in 2001; she is identified in court documents as Jane Doe # 1.)
At the time of the wedding on August 31, 1994, Aaliyah was 15 and Kelly 27. Smith stated that the reason for the marriage was that Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant and that Kelly and one of her employees, the former manager. commercial Derrel McDavid, believed that marriage would prevent Kelly from potentially being prosecuted for having sex with a minor.
Years later, “Jane” testified on Monday, she and Kelly’s other girlfriends asked him about his marriage to Aaliyah. “Jane” said Kelly told them that the reason for the marriage was that Aaliyah was pregnant and that only Aaliyah’s parents or a spouse could approve an abortion.
The federal trial in Brooklyn is expected to last about a month. Kelly faces separate federal charges relating to child pornography and obstruction of justice in Illinois.