NEW YORK – A third Jane Doe, identified as Stephanie, testified Thursday R. Kelly initiated a sexual relationship with her during the “hardest time of her life” when she was 17, in federal lawsuit against the singer.
Stephanie, now 39, said she met Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, when she was 16 at what is called “Rock ‘n’ Roll” McDonalds in Chicago in the summer of 1998. She was there on a double date with his girlfriend and two friends. Under direct investigation, she told Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata that she was standing at the checkout alone when one of Kelly’s assistants approached her.
In her testimony in the Brooklyn Federal Court Building, she said he asked her age and if she knew who R. Kelly was. When she said yes, he pointed at him, and she saw that the singer, who was 32 at the time, was staring at her.
“He gave me a phone number and said it was Robert Kelly’s phone number,” she told the courtroom. Stephanie returned to her friends and boyfriend at the time, and they all laughed when she told them what happened, she said. She then threw away the paper with his number. “I was not going to call him,” she said.
Stephanie testified that the following summer she worked as a barista at a hotel in downtown Chicago and heard about an event Kelly wanted to attend at the Nike store near her job. She decided to go to see if he remembered her and ask if he would listen to her friend sing.
In her testimony, she said that when she arrived at the store, Kelly went out. She asked if he remembered her, and he said he did. She told him she would ask him a question and he asked her to go with him to his car. She sat in the passenger seat and asked about her friend who sang for him.
“He said, yes, that he thought he could arrange it, but he also wanted to get to know me, and he also liked to cuddle, and would I feel good about that?” Stephanie remembered. She said she agreed to it and they started making plans to meet.
When prosecutors asked what was going on in her life at the time, Stephanie said she had experienced hardships, including being sexually traumatized by family, her first boss and men on the street.
“It was the hardest time of my life,” she said. “I was very vulnerable.”
A week or so after the meeting at the Nike store, she said, she took a bus to his studio, which they had previously discussed. After buzzing the intercom and being escorted up to the studio, she waited for hours for Kelly to join her.
When he finally arrived, Stephanie said, he sat next to her, laid his head on her shoulder and said, “Sorry, it took so long.” She said they talked a little and had sex that day.
Stephanie testified that during her first or second time in the studio, she told him she was 17. Although she thought it meant the end of their relationship, she said he told her it was “fine.”
Kelly wanted her to call him “dad.” She said their relationship lasted about six months, and she saw him six to eight times a month, mostly at the studio. She said he “orchestrated” their meetings and instructed her to make certain noises or stay in certain positions. There were times when he told her to get dressed and stay in a certain position “for hours” while she “waited there for him to come and have his way.”
She said it was “humiliating”.
In the Brooklyn trial, Kelly faces federal charges of violating and violating the Mann Act, which prohibits driving a minor across state boundaries for prostitution. He has denied the allegations.
Stephanie told the courtroom that Kelly started early in their relationship when she was 17, would regularly film herself and perform sexual acts with her, saying that the first time he started filming, he did not ask her, but told her, that he picked her up for film.
“I was really scared,” she said. “I felt like I had no choice.”
During their relationship, she said he had two sides: one lovely and charming and the other controlling and scary. She told Shihata that it was difficult to determine what exactly triggered him.
“He would raise his voice to me, and he could put fear of God into me very quickly,” she testified.
At one point in their relationship, she said, he gave her $ 300 to get a dress similar to actress Sharon Stone. He dropped her off for shopping and said he would pick her up when she was done. Stephanie quit early and decided to stand outside and get a cigarette while she waited for him. When he pulled up and saw her smoking, she said he came in her face and yelled at her to “never do that shit again, especially in front of me.” She said she was “scared”.
Stephanie said she once went to Houston’s restaurant for a meal with Kelly and two local rappers. She was not allowed to talk to the rappers while they ate because Kelly did not allow her to talk to other men. During the meal, she said, he randomly started talking about why he should be able to date minors.
“He mentioned that he likes young girls and that people make so much of it. Even look at Jerry Lee Lewis, he’s a genius and I’m a genius. We must be allowed to do what we want. See what we give the world. ” Lewis is a musician who married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in 1957. Brown later divorced Lewis and claimed she had been ‘subject to all kinds of physical and mental abuse imaginable. . ”
Stephanie also testified about a case when the two left one of his basketball games with two others in the car with them. He asked her to give him oral sex in the car, which she said was “disgusting” because he was sweaty from playing. She said she tried to do it quietly as others were in the car. He told her to make noise, which caught the attention of the person in the passenger seat. She said she was ashamed.
Their relationship ended shortly after he paid for her and a friend to take a trip to Orlando, Florida, for Stephanie’s 18th birthday in October 1999. She said they lived in a rental home that they were not allowed to leave. They did not have a car either. Stephanie did not see him until their last day in Orlando. Kelly only picked up Stephanie in a sports car, took her to her studio and had her perform oral sex on him. She said she was “just humiliated” and that she did not want to be admitted.
She said she cried in the car on the way back to the lease, but he did not know how to handle it.
“I felt used and humiliated and degraded,” she told the court. “I would not be abused anymore.”
She said she continued her relationship with him in hopes of retrieving and destroying the videos Kelly recorded of the two having sex. In either November or December, she called him and asked if they could ruin them together, and he said she could come to the studio so they could discuss it. Stephanie testified that it was clear to her at the time that he did not intend to destroy the ties.
“That was the last time I talked to him,” she said.
Defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker questioned Stephanie during cross-examination. Becker painted the relationship as a normal adult relationship, even though Stephanie was 17 and Kelly was 32 at the time.
“Most of the time, that’s what you were going to do to him, right?” Becker asked, adding that Stephanie was probably driving to see Kelly. Stephanie replied that she could not drive to see Kelly at the time because she was not old enough to have a license.
Becker’s question implied that it was Stephanie’s fault that got into the position she was in with Kelly: “You had a choice to pick up every time he called, right?” and “You were intimate because you wanted to be, right?”
Stephanie’s testimony on the 7th day of the trial ended with a gloomy note as prosecutor Shihata re-examined the witness.
When Shihata asked why Stephanie would never forget the sexual abuse she says she had endured in Kelly’s hands, she broke down crying. “Because it was the lowest time in my life. I have never been treated like this before or since. He humiliated me. He degraded me. He scared me. I will never forget the way he treated me. ”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National sexual assault online hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center Web site.
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