A third woman has come forward to file a civil suit against R. Kelly, claiming that not only did the singer have sex with her when she was underage, but that he also forced her to have an abortion. Kelly's lawyers, in response, said that they're not going to settle this case and plan to fight it in court.
Patrice Jones, now 20, filed a suit Monday in the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago accusing Kelly of criminal sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, seeking $50,000 in damages. She alleges that after meeting Kelly in December 1998, when she was 16, that he initiated a nine-month sexual relationship with her. According to the suit, Jones met Kelly at the Rock and Roll McDonald's in Chicago, a tourist trap in downtown's River North neighborhood, on the evening of her prom, whereupon Kelly asked for Jones' number and invited her to visit him at his recording studio.
Within the month, her suit claims, she began having sex with him at his Chicago Trax Studio, as well as on his tour bus and in various hotels, averaging two to three times per week during the bulk of the relationship. Jones estimates that she had sex with Kelly between 20 and 30 times prior to her 17th birthday. "During their relationship ... Kelly promised to teach ... Jones various vocations in the music industry including operation of musical equipment and the making of music videos," the suit reads. "Kelly took advantage of his occupation or status, position of authority, and plaintiff, Patrice Jones, had trust and confidence in him to cause her to develop a dependent relationship in him."
By June 1999, Jones was pregnant, the suit claims, causing Kelly to coerce her into having an abortion, which he paid for and had his employees arrange at Family Planning Associates in September of that year.
That abortion haunts her to this day, her lawyer Susan E. Loggans said. "She's under psychological care now," Loggans said. "She had another baby later, but she's still never gotten over what she did. It's changed her life."
Loggans said that she was discussing a possible settlement with Kelly's lawyers the week prior to filing, but that Kelly's lawyers dismissed it and a dollar amount wasn't reached. "They're unwilling to see this as serious," she said. "They think that fact is immaterial. They think if someone gets pregnant, it's their fault, and that if they have an abortion, they chose to do it. But that's pathetic, because she was a child, and she was and is still very intimidated by R. Kelly."
Kelly's lawyers, in response to the complaint, held a press conference in Chicago on Monday and said that Kelly would not be intimidated by these latest accusations, warning Jones not to expect a settlement.
"Enough is enough," attorney Gerald Margolis said at the conference. "Perhaps ... people have gotten the idea that R. Kelly is some sort of walking ATM machine they can hit up for cash simply by threatening to sue him. The cash machine is closed. R. Kelly is no angel, but he is no monster either. ... In the past, we've taken the high road with regard to a series of terrible allegations made against Robert. Rather than going to court to defend him against these charges, a process that would have degraded everyone concerned, we decided to settle the cases quietly. This latest suit is a collection of half-truths, distortions and outright lies that we intend to fight and beat."
Loggans said that the complaint is going to be hard to beat, since she has medical records to back up Jones' accusations, witnesses to Jones' and Kelly's alleged ongoing relationship and phone records indicating that she had his private line.
Loggans also represented two other women Tracy Sampson and Tiffany Hawkins who've filed and settled similar civil suits against Kelly (see "R. Kelly Settles Civil Suit, Defends Himself On Radio"). "She's been bolstered by the courage the other women have," Loggans said, "and I hope we do get our day in court."
A trial date has not been set. Chicago police said their investigation into whether Kelly videotaped himself having sex with underage girls is continuing.
For full coverage of R. Kelly, see "The R. Kelly Reports."