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R. Kelly's former goddaughter and alleged victim takes witness stand, tells jury she had sex with singer 'innumerable times' while a minor

Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO — For the first time after two decades of swirling allegations, R. Kelly’s former goddaughter has taken the stand as a prosecution witness in a case against the disgraced singer.

Dressed in a white blazer with her hair in long braids, the woman, now 37 and testifying at Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago under the pseudonym “Jane,” told the jury she had sexual contact with Kelly for the first time at 14.

Their sex acts escalated to intercourse when she was 15, she said. Asked by a prosecutor how she knew her exact age, Jane calmly responded, “Because that’s when I lost my virginity.”

After that, they had sex “innumerable times,” sometimes along with other teenage girls whom Jane recruited at Kelly’s request, she said. The encounters took place in Kelly’s home on West George Street, at his Near West Side recording studio, on tour buses, and in hotels in Chicago and elsewhere, she said.

Two of the other minor victims are also expected to testify against Kelly later in the trial.

To illustrate how young she looked at the time of the encounters, prosecutors had Jane identify two photos of herself from her childhood. The first, taken when she was a sophomore in high school, showed her on one knee holding a basketball, smiling. The other was a headshot from when she was in a music group at 13 — around the time she said she first met Kelly.

 

“Jane” is expected to testify later Thursday that she was in fact the girl depicted on infamous video footage being sexually abused by Kelly.

Jane and her parents had denied for years that Kelly ever had an inappropriate relationship with her. Jane was not called to testify at Kelly’s 2008 Cook County trial for child pornography, even though county prosecutors alleged she was the girl on the tape.

Federal prosecutors allege Kelly and his associates paid off Jane and her family and covered up other videotapes in order to rig his Cook County trial. He was acquitted on those charges in 2008.

Testifying in a quiet voice, Jane said she was starstruck when she first met Kelly in the 1990s, especially after he attended a performance of her music group and gave her good feedback.

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