‘Free From Fear’: R. Kelly’s Victims Speak Out Following Guilty Verdict

Some of R. Kelly’s victims are speaking out after he was convicted in New York of federal racketeering and sex trafficking.

BuzzFeed News reported that 11 victims testified against Kelly, 54, during his monthlong trial. Jerhonda Pace, 28, who was the first woman to testify against Kelly, said in an Instagram post that she was called a money-hungry liar as the singer faced mounting allegations.

Pace had accused Kelly of statutory rape and abuse. She claimed in one instance when she was 16, Kelly choked her when she did not acknowledge him when entering the room.

“Me speaking out caused a domino effect and so many people came forward. There are still some people that haven’t came forward. I’m so grateful to be a voice for those who didn’t have the courage,” Pace wrote following Monday’s verdict.

Meanwhile, former radio DJ Kitti Jones — who said Kelly forced her into a two-year relationship that was rife with abuse — also reflected on Monday’s verdict. Her allegations were not presented during Kelly’s federal trial.

“We got justice today,” she told The Daily Beast. “I wouldn’t say I now have closure because in the end none of us will get our time back. But this is a small victory.”

Another accuser, who only identified herself as Sonja, told The Daily Beast in a statement that she was “happy with the verdict and thankful that the jury listened to us.” The woman said she had been hiding from Kelly due to ongoing threats.

“I’m ready to start living my life free from fear, and to start the healing process,” she also commented.

Federal prosecutors claimed Kelly sexually abused six women and girls, four of whom were underage at the time. They also accused him of bribing an Illinois government employee in 1994 to get a fake ID for a 15-year-old Aaliyah so he could marry her in an illegal union.

The defense spent less than three days introducing witnesses — a stark comparison to the prosecution, who spent five weeks presenting their case. Forty witnesses testified against Kelly, eleven of whom were his alleged victims.

Kelly, who was arrested in July 2020, is also facing 13 federal counts in Illinois for various charges, including child pornography and obstruction of justice. On the state level, Kelly is facing 21 sex-related criminal charges in Cook County, Illinois. Last August, authorities in Minnesota charged Kelly with two counts of prostitution with a person younger than 18 in connection with an alleged 2001 incident.

Kelly’s sentencing is scheduled for May. He faces life in prison.

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[Featured image: R. Kelly/Chicago Police Department]