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R. Kelly's First Accuser Makes Disturbing Claim

Jerhonda Pace, then 16, says Kelly wanted her to dress as a Girl Scout during sex
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2021 4:57 PM CDT
R. Kelly's First Accuser Makes Disturbing Claim
In this courtroom artist's sketch made from a video screen monitor of a Brooklyn courtroom, defendant R. Kelly, top left, listens as Jerhonda Pace, far left, testifies against the R&B star. Pace is pregnant.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

(Newser) – The first woman to testify in R. Kelly's sexual abuse trial made a disturbing allegation against the entertainer on Thursday. Jerhonda Pace, now 28, says she began having sex with Kelly when she was 16, and not only did he knew she was so young, "he wanted me to put my hair up in pigtails and dress like a Girl Scout,” said Pace in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, per the New York Times. Kelly would videotape their sessions, she told the court. The newspaper notes that her testimony marks a milestone: It's the first time an accuser has testified against Kelly at a criminal trial after decades of allegations. Pace is one of six alleged victims in the indictment against him, notes Reuters, and four of them are minors.

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Kelly's attorney, however, maintains the 54-year-old did not know the girls were so young. Pace testified that she showed Kelly an ID card stating she was only 16, but she acknowledged later signing an agreement saying she had not shown him that card. "I didn't see the agreement before I signed it," she said. The Times notes that Kelly attorney Deveraux Cannick attempted to trip up Pace because she said she was 14 in April 2008 and 16 in May 2009. “You advanced two years in a year and one month?” Cannick said, appearing to suggest Pace had lied. But she explained the dates were right—her birthday is in April. (Prosecutors are going after Kelly with a law more typically used against mafia dons.)

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