BROOKLYN — A sixth alleged victim of R. Kelly's testified in his criminal trial on Tuesday and Wednesday, saying the singer infected her with herpes and filmed her during sex without her knowledge or consent.
Faith, a 24-year-old woman who was identified to the court only by her first name, said it was just days after her final meeting with Kelly in February 2018 that she began exhibiting symptoms of a cold and her mouth broke out in sores.
“My mouth had bumps everywhere, and my tongue was inflamed with bumps,” she said. “My mouth looked disgusting.”
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have accused Kelly of being the ringleader behind a criminal “enterprise” that exploited his fame in order to sexually abuse numerous victims, many of whom were underage. He’s been indicted on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering but has denied all the charges against him.
Faith testified that she first met Kelly when she was 19 and attended one of his concerts with her sister in March 2017. Toward the end of the show, two young women approached them and gave them wristbands to go backstage, she said. There, she met Kelly, and he gave her his phone number.
At Kelly’s invitation, Faith visited him in Long Island that May, where she said they had their first sexual encounter in a hotel room after his show. She recalled telling him she was not ready to have sex, but he pressed on despite her discomfort, telling her to remove her clothing and get on the bed on all fours.
“He wasn’t fingering me; it was like a poke,” she said. “It felt like I was being examined by an OB-GYN.”
She said he then flipped her around to perform oral sex on her, at which point Faith said she noticed he was recording the encounter on an iPad. Despite feeling uncomfortable, Faith said, she did not stop Kelly from having sex with her out of fear of upsetting him.
“I was like, OK, just get through it,” she said.
Kelly did not use a condom, even though she asked if he would, she testified. “He said, ‘We don’t need a condom,’” Faith said.
But Kelly did not inform her he had had herpes for over a decade, as his former physician previously testified.
Immediately after that sexual encounter, Faith said, Kelly was critical of her sexual performance, saying she had “a lot to learn.” He also allegedly questioned whether she might be younger than 19 but seemed unperturbed by the possibility. “He said, ‘You know, if you’re really 16, you can tell Daddy.’”
It was during their relationship that BuzzFeed News first reported that police had been informed that Kelly was allegedly keeping women in an abusive “cult.” As reports of the allegations began circulating in July 2017, Faith said, Kelly seemed to be on edge and asked whether she would “protect” him.
Kelly told her there were “some females [he was] raising,” she said. He described them as a “family” but confirmed when she asked whether they had a sexual relationship. “He said, ‘Everywhere I go, they go,’” Faith said.
Faith continued traveling to visit Kelly on the road over the coming months, saying he was extremely controlling, at times not allowing her to use the bathroom for hours on end. In Los Angeles in January 2018, Faith said, he made her strip naked and then questioned her on her sexual history while he sat in a chair with a gun beside him. He then allegedly made her give him oral sex.
The next month, she visited him in Manhattan and said Kelly again tried to have sex with her despite her discomfort. She clenched her body so he could not fully penetrate her, she said, which “pissed him off.” He finally gave up and began masturbating at “high speed” while watching videos of sexual encounters with his other girlfriends on his iPad.
Kelly has betrayed little visible emotion during the trial, but at the mention of the masturbation incident, he put his hand over his face for several moments, seemingly embarrassed.
At another point on Wednesday, a video of Faith and Kelly during an alleged nonsexual encounter was played for the jury, which included audio of one of his songs. Kelly could be seen bopping his head to the beat of his own music, and at one point wiggled his fingers as if playing a piano.
Faith began pursuing legal action after she tested positive for herpes, and she later appeared in the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. While in New York for the premiere in January 2019, Faith said, she was contacted by a woman employee of Kelly’s who said she wanted to “discuss some files she had.” They met up at an Applebee’s, Faith said, where the woman told her she was “just trying to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s lying” about the allegations against Kelly.
There, the employee showed Faith a file on her, which included nude photos Kelly had allegedly taken of her. If Faith moved forward with the documentary, she testified, the employee warned her Kelly would make the photos public.
About a week after the docuseries began airing, Faith said, she woke up to a flurry of messages. She found out a Facebook page titled “Surviving Lies” had publicly posted the same nude photos she’d been shown in her file.
The trial continues.