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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Jon Seidel

Two R. Kelly accusers tell their stories on the stand, corroborate Kelly’s abuse of ‘Jane’

R. Kelly walks with attorneys and supporters into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in March 2019. Kelly’s trial in federal court enters its third week Monday. (Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo)

The jury in R. Kelly’s federal child pornography trial heard from two additional women Monday who say Kelly sexually abused them when they were teenagers in the 1990s — and who corroborated claims that Kelly sexually abused a woman who has already testified.

The most serious charges against Kelly in his latest trial involve his alleged production of child pornography through his recorded sexual abuse of a teenager known to jurors as “Jane.” Now 37, the woman testified Aug. 18 that Kelly began to sexually abuse her when she was around 14. Since then, jurors have viewed 17 video clips allegedly depicting the abuse and heard from Lisa Van Allen, who described a 1998 sexual encounter involving Kelly and Jane.

Now jurors have heard from two more accusers, referred to in court as “Pauline” and “Tracy.” They shared their own stories Monday of alleged abuse by Kelly and, in doing so, also described sexual encounters involving Kelly and Jane while Jane was underage.

Pauline and Tracy presented drastically different personalities to the jury. While Tracy came across as mostly meek and soft-spoken on the witness stand, Pauline boldly pushed back against Kelly defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean.

At one point, as the defense attorney tried to clarify the frequency of Pauline’s encounters with Kelly, Pauline declared to the courtroom, “We f---ed a lot.”

Kelly is also charged with enticing Pauline and Tracy into criminal sexual activity when they were minors. Their testimony comes as prosecutors appear to be nearing the end of their case against the R&B superstar. Kelly is already serving a 30-year federal prison sentence for his racketeering conviction last year in New York.

Throughout the trial, Bonjean has tried to undermine the credibility of the prosecutors’ witnesses. She continued that effort Monday with Pauline and Tracy. She particularly focused on the testimony of Tracy, who told jurors she graduated from high school at age 16 in 1999. Tracy said she met Kelly that spring, and that he soon began to sexually abuse her.

In 2001, Tracy filed a lawsuit against Kelly, claiming she met the singer in April 2000. Bonjean repeatedly pointed out that 17 is the age of consent in Illinois, and Tracy would have been 17 in April 2000.

“I’m sorry, but that is not correct,” Tracy said when Bonjean confronted her about the discrepancy. “I’ve always told the truth and said how old I was.”

Pauline, now 37, testified that Jane introduced her to Kelly when they were both 14. One day, while visiting Kelly’s home in Lake View, Pauline said she walked in on Kelly and a naked Jane in a log-cabin-themed room. Pauline said she left the room, but Jane encouraged her to return.

The singer told Pauline he was checking Jane for bruises “because she hurt herself.” Soon, she said Kelly encouraged Pauline and Jane to kiss and fondle each other. 

Pauline said she began having sexual intercourse with Kelly when she was 15 or 16 and participated in numerous threesomes involving Kelly and Jane or a third underage friend.

Bonjean questioned Pauline about an episode in which Pauline said she called Kelly’s studio, claimed to be someone else and threatened to expose damaging information if she wasn’t paid $35,000. Pauline said she did it because she wanted to get Kelly’s attention at the time. 

“He called it extortion,” Pauline said. “I call it ‘don’t play with me.’”

Tracy, now 40, testified later. She insisted that she was 16 when she was introduced to Kelly in 1999 by her boss during an internship at Epic Records. She said Kelly gave her his phone number when she tried to get his autograph for a friend at an expo.

During a visit that followed to Kelly’s Chicago recording studio, Tracy alleged that Kelly masturbated in front of her as she tried to pull away. A week or so later, she said Kelly met her at a hotel, performed oral sex on her, and then had her perform oral sex on him. She said they had sexual intercourse for the first time later, at Kelly’s studio.

Tracy also described a separate incident, in which she said Kelly told her to take off her clothes in a room in the studio. He allegedly promised to return with a “present.” Tracy said he returned with Jane, who was naked.

Tracy is two years older than Jane.

“I was really confused,” Tracy said, describing her reaction when Kelly arrived with Jane. “And just really angry, because I didn’t really think there was anybody else but me and Rob.” 

Tracy told the jury, “they just seemed to be really familiar with each other.”

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