R. Kelly has denied claims made in a new Buzzfeed report that claims the R&B singer had a sexual relationship with then-underage Jerhonda Pace in 2008. Pace, who is now 24 years old and has three children, claims she met R. Kelly in Chicago when she was 15 when R. Kelly was on trial for child pornography (the dark irony of this situation should not be lost on anyone).
Kelly’s publicist, Trevian Kutti, released a statement in response to Pace’s allegations.
“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,” Kutti wrote. “Mr. Kelly again denies any and all wrong doing and is taking appropriate legal action to protect himself from ongoing defamation.”
Pace claims the two met at the trial, and after Kelly was acquitted, the pair began a sexual relationship when she was 16. The age of consent in Illinois is 17. She spoke to Buzzfeed even though she had signed a nondisclosure agreement and received money to not speak of the affair.
“If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that’s what I will do,” Pace told Buzzfeed. “I didn’t have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him.”
This is only the latest episode in a series of disturbing allegations against R. Kelly. Back in August, an explosive Buzzfeed News report claimed R. Kelly is keeping multiple women against their will in his homes as part of an abusive sex cult. R. Kelly has denied those claims, too.