A woman who has been central to R. Kelly’s legal troubles for more than two decades testified on Thursday, August 18 that the R&B singer had sex with her ‘hundreds’ of times before she turned 18 years old, starting when she was just 15.
Jane – the pseudonym for the now 37-year-old woman at Kelly’s trial on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges told jurors that in the late 1990s when she was 13, she asked the Grammy award-winning singer to be her godfather because she saw him as a mentor.
After some weeks, Kelly started calling her to say sexual things.
She said he first touched her breasts when she was around 14 at a Chicago recording studio, and that around that time, he ‘started penetration’ at his North Side Chicago home.
Jane said she was 15 when they first had intercourse. Kelly, 55, would have been around 30 years old at the time.
Sometimes, they would have sex with other teenage girls she would recruit at Kelly’s request, she testified,
With her testimony on Thursday, Jane served as the first former victim to speak out about what she allegedly endured in the R&B star’s ongoing child pornography trial.
He stands charged in Chicago federal court with enticing of minors for sex, producing child pornography and rigging his 2008 pornography trial.
Prosecutors allege that R. Kelly paid off and threatened Jane and her family to ensure that she didn’t testify at a similar 2008 trial. She didn’t testify and he was ultimately acquitted.
Kelly, 55, is serving a 30-year prison sentence for his conviction in a New York court earlier this year on other federal charges alleging he used his fame to sexually abuse fans over several decades.
Two other minor victims are also expected to testify in the Chicago trial, which is expected to last about a month.
Jane said she was in a music group at the time, and Kelly — a friend of her aunt’s — attended one of their performances, and gave her good feedback.
‘It made me feel happy that such a successful person was saying I was gifted, so I was excited,’ Jane testified, according to the Chicago Tribune.
She said her aunt then advised her to ask Kelly to be her godfather, explaining her aunt told her ‘I should sit on his lap and rub his head and ask him to play that role in my life.’
Jane said she obliged, and Kelly ‘chuckled a bit, and said “yes.”
But soon the relationship became sexual.
In at least one case, WGN-TV reports, she said Kelly asked her what color her underwear was, and told her he was pleasuring himself as they spoke.
Kelly then gave her alcohol for the first time when she was 14, Jane said, and she began drinking heavily.
‘It would help me loosen up, kind of take me away from the moment,’ she said.
By the time she was 15, she said, they started having sex, and when asked by a prosecutor how she knew her exact age, Jane replied: ‘Because that’s when I lost my virginity.’
From there, Jane said, they would have intercourse in Kelly’s home on West George Street, at his Near West Side recording studio, on tour buses and in hotels.
Asked by a prosecutor how she would know what to do sexually, Jane answered: ‘He would tell me what to do.’
And when asked how many times they had sex before she turned 18, she answered quietly: ‘Uncountable times…hundreds.’
Unlike at the 2008 trial, Jane is now cooperating with prosecutors and is a pivotal witness.
Prosecutors say Kelly shot an explicit video of Jane in a log cabin-themed room at his North Side Chicago home between 1998 and 2000. In it, the girl is heard calling the man ‘daddy.’
Prosecutors say Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, knew a conviction in 2008 would effectively end his life as he knew it, and so he conspired to fix that trial.
According to prosecutors, Kelly told Jane and her parents to leave Chicago, paying for them to travel to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico.
When they returned, prosecutors say Kelly sought to isolate Jane, moving her around to different hotels. When called before a state grand jury looking into the video, Jane, her father and mother denied it was her in it.
On June 13, 2008, when he was acquitted on all counts of child pornography, some of the jurors told reporters after the trial that they weren’t convinced that the female in the video was who state prosecutors said she was.
Kelly, who has denied any wrongdoing, has been trailed for decades by complaints and allegations about his sexual behavior. The scrutiny intensified after the #MeToo era and the 2019 six-part documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’
Kelly also faces four counts of enticement of minors for sex – one each for four other accusers. They, too, are expected to testify.
Prosecutors also say they have evidence of at least three videos showing Kelly having sex with underage girls.