28-year-old Jerhonda Pace also referred to as “Jane Doe No. 4” took the stand on Wednesday for the beginning of R.Kelly’s contentious racketeering and sex trafficking trial.
Pace revealed some harrowing details into the sexual abuse she endured while held captive at his house in Olympia Fields, a south suburb outside of Chicago. She told prosecutors and the jury that she became involved with the singer when she was only 16. At the time Kelly was in his early 40s.
Pace said that Kelly allegedly told her he wanted to “train her to please him” and that she wasn’t allowed to do anything without his permission. She was required to call him “Daddy” at all times and was consequently punished when she did not follow the rules. Pace also testified that he knowingly had sex with her despite his herpes diagnosis.
The young mother who is currently expecting a child shocked the courtroom when she recalled an incident that occurred in 2010. Pace said that Kelly brutally choked her until she fell unconscious after she failed to acknowledge him while walking into the room.
“I remember him putting his hand around my neck,” she recalled. “He spit in my face and told me to put my head down in shame.” Kelly allegedly forced her to perform sexual acts on him. When the R&B singer asked her to retrieve a pair of his favorite heels, she lied and said they were nearby at her uncle’s house. Pace used the opportunity to escape and never returned.
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According to Rolling Stone, Pace is one of “six women and girls named in the indictment, four were underage at the time.”
Pace’s Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said that during the six months that both Kelly and Pace spent together the Grammy-Award-winning artist made her sign a letter stating that she stole from him to use as collateral and that he also filmed their sexual interactions.
According to the Huffington Post, Melendez presented a powerful opening statement to the jurors, telling the courtroom:
“This case is about a predator. A man who, for decades, used his fame, popularity and network of people at his disposal to target, groom and exploit young girls, boys and women for his own sexual gratification.”
Pace is expected to take the stand again on Thursday.