R Kelly victim tells court disgraced star sexually abused her ‘hundreds of times’

Witness 'Jane' tells the court of her ordeal as R Kelly's sexual plaything, starting when she was in her teens. <i>Illustration: AP</i>

Witness 'Jane' tells the court of her ordeal as R Kelly's sexual plaything, starting when she was in her teens. Illustration: AP

A woman who says she was sexually abused hundreds of times by R&B star R. Kelly as a minor says she agonised over whether to co-operate with federal investigators who were looking into child abuse allegations involving the singer.

She ultimately did because she did not want to “carry his lies”, she told a Chicago court on Friday.

Hours before jurors got their first glimpse of sexually explicit videos at the heart of the prosecution’s bid to prove Kelly produced child pornography and successfully rigged his 2008 child porn trial, they heard from the woman, who is now 37 and testifying under the pseudonym Jane.

She conceded that even after she began co-operating, she lied when she told agents she was not sure if Kelly had abused minors other than her. She said she lied because she did not want to get others in trouble.

Jane testified for more than four hours on Thursday, saying it was she and Kelly in a videotape that was the focus of the 2008 trial, at which he was acquitted.

She also said Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times from the late 1990s before she turned 18. Kelly, 55, was around 30 years old at the time.

Cross-examining her on Friday, Kelly’s lead attorney Jennifer Bonjean sought to cast the R&B singer in a more favourable light after Jane testified the day before about how Kelly pursued her sexually starting when she was about 14 years old.

r kelly convicted

Already behind bars, R Kelly is facing an even longer stretch. Photo: AP

Kelly has been trailed for decades by allegations about his sexual behaviour. The scrutiny intensified during the #MeToo era and following the 2019 release of the television docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.

Jane said her relationship with Kelly lasted 12 years and continued for two years after his 2008 trial, until she was 26.

Bonjean asked whether, “after you broke up, you cared about him and he cared about you?”. Jane said that was true.

As Surviving R. Kelly was coming out, Jane said she was concerned for Kelly and reached out to him. In one text she wrote, “I love you. Don’t let the devil win”.

She said she repeatedly tried to contact him in 2019 for advice as she pondered whether to speak to authorities at length about Kelly for the first time. She decided shortly thereafter to speak to investigators.

“I no longer wanted to carry his lies,” she said.

Kelly, who denies any wrongdoing, was given a 30-year prison sentence by a federal judge in New York earlier this year for a 2021 conviction for using his fame to sexually abuse fans.

Witness tampering alleged

Prosecutors say Kelly intimidated and paid off Jane to ensure she did not testify at the 2008 trial to identify herself and Kelly in the critical video, which the government says Kelly made in a log cabin-themed room at his North Side Chicago home around 2000.

Jane testified on Thursday that she was the girl, then 14, in the video and that Kelly was the man in it.

It was one of three videos that prosecutors played excerpts of on Friday that they said showed Kelly sexually abusing an underage Jane.

Although screens were shielded, the sound was audible throughout the courtroom, and in one video the girl is heard repeatedly calling the man “daddy”. The man is also heard giving her sexually explicit instructions.

After the acquittal in the 2008 trial, some jurors said they had no choice but to acquit Kelly because the girl – by then an adult – did not testify.

On the stand on Thursday, Jane conceded she lied to a grand jury in 2002 when she said it was not her in the video.

Jane has testified she met Kelly through an aunt who worked with him, and that she asked Kelly to be her godfather when she was 13.

She told jurors she was 15 when they first had intercourse.

Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer, knew a conviction in 2008 would effectively end his life as he knew it, and so prosecutors say he conspired to fix that trial.


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