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One of R. Kelly’s alleged victims says the disgraced singer described himself as a “genius” who could do whatever he wanted—even have sexual relations with underage girls.
The allegations came to light in federal court Thursday, during a bombshell testimony from a 39-year-old woman who was identified only as “Stephanie.” The witness recalled an incident in which Kelly randomly brought up his attraction to “young girls,” and then likened himself to Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock ‘n’ roll artist who married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 22.
“Even look at Jerry Lee Lewis,” Kelly purportedly told Stephanie during a 1999 dinner. “He’s a genius and I’m a genius. We should be allowed to do what we want — look at what we give to the world.”
According to the New York Times, the witness said she had met Kelly in 1998 at McDonald’s in Chicago, where one of his team members had given her Kelly’s phone number. Stephanie claimed she threw the number away, and didn’t see the singer until a Nike store event the following year. It was at that time the young girl approached Kelly about a possible audition for her singer friend.
“He said, yeah, that he thought he could arrange that, but also he’d like to get to know me,” Stephanie recalled. “And also that he likes to cuddle and would I be OK with that?”
Stephanie said it was just a couple of weeks later when she was invited to Kelly’s recording studio, where they had their first sexual encounter. The woman also claimed Kelly was aware she was only 17 at the time.
“That was definitely the hardest time of my life,” she said in court. “I had very low self-esteem. I’d already been through sexual trauma within my family, by my first boss, by men on the street. I was very vulnerable.”
Stephanie claimed Kelly subjected her to sexual abuse and humiliation for about a year, before she decided to stop seeing him.
“I’ve never been treated like that before or since,” she said. “He humiliated me, he degraded me, he scared me. I’ll never forget the way he treated me … It was humiliating. He would be very specific about how he would want me to be. He would put me in positions he wanted me to be in.”
Kelly is facing multiple charges of racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of “any woman or girl” for immoral purposes. The 54-year-old artist has denied the allegations, which date back to the 1990s.