R. Kelly Accuser Says He Often Told Her to 'Dress Like a Girl Scout,' Recorded Encounters

A key accuser at the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial said he often recorded their sexual encounters, during which he would allegedly demand she "dress like a Girl Scout."

Jerhonda Pace returned to the witness stand Thursday to continue her testimony in Brooklyn federal court. Pace told jurors yesterday that she was a 16-year-old virgin and a member of Kelly's fan club in 2010 when he invited her to his mansion and allegedly began their sexual relationship.

Pace said that while she was at the mansion, she was told to follow "Rob's rules" which told her how she could dress, who she could speak with and when she could use the bathroom. She said that Kelly sometimes demanded she wear pigtails and dress like a Girl Scout during the sexual encounters he often recorded.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

R. Kelly trial
A key accuser in the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial said he often demanded she "dress like a Girl Scout" during their sexual encounters, which he recorded. Above, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. Antonio Perez/Pool via Getty Images

On cross examination, defense attorney Deveraux Cannick sought to show Pace hid her true motivations regarding Kelly and deceived him by lying about her age.

"You were in fact stalking him, right?" Cannick asked.

"That is not right," she responded.

Pace had testified earlier that she told Kelly she was 19 when they met but had informed him she was only 16 by the time he sexually abused her.

Cannick confronted her with a lawsuit settlement she signed indicating she agreed she never revealed to Kelly that she was a minor. She said it was in exchange for hush money.

The questioning fit a theme that defense lawyers have repeatedly pushed early in the trial: Kelly was victimized by groupies who hounded him at shows and afterward, only to turn against him years later when public sentiment shifted against him, they allege.

To bolster their claims against Kelly, prosecutors showed jurors screenshots from Pace's phone showing several communications with Kelly in January 2010, including a text from him reading, "Please call." There was also a photo of her with "Rob" tattooed to her chest. She said she's since "covered it up with a black heart."

Pace, the trial's first witness, was among multiple female accusers—mostly referred to in court as "Jane Does"—expected to testify at a trial scheduled to last several weeks. Other likely witnesses include cooperating former associates who have never spoken publicly before about their experiences with Kelly.

The Associated Press doesn't name alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent unless they have shared their identities publicly. Pace has appeared in a documentary and participated in media interviews.

Kelly, 54, has denied accusations that he preyed on Pace and other victims during a 30-year career highlighted by his smash hit "I Believe I Can Fly," a 1996 song that became an inspirational anthem played at school graduations, weddings, advertisements and elsewhere.

The openings and testimony came more than a decade after Kelly was acquitted in a 2008 child pornography case in Chicago. The reprieve allowed his music career to continue until the #MeToo era caught up with him, emboldening alleged victims to come forward.

The women's stories got wide exposure with the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly. The series explored how an entourage of supporters protected Kelly and silenced his victims for decades, foreshadowing the federal racketeering conspiracy case that landed Kelly in jail in 2019.

The trial is occurring before an anonymous jury of seven men and five women. Following several delays due mostly to the pandemic, the trial unfolds under coronavirus precautions restricting the press and the public to overflow courtrooms with video feeds.

The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

R. Kelly accuser sketch
Jerhonda Pace took the stand again Thursday to resume testimony after telling jurors yesterday she was a minor when her sexual relationship with R. Kelly began. In this courtroom sketch, Pace testifies during the singer's sex abuse trial on August 18, 2021, in New York. Elizabeth Williams via AP