The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part of the Grammy-winning singer, in addition to intimidation by Kelly’s legal team.
“Accused: The R. Kelly Story,” like “Surviving R.Kelly,” the Lifetime series that brought the years-long scandal back to the public consciousness, recounts similar patterns of manipulation, control and starvation as well as escalating physical abuse. It also includes the heart-wrenching story of the Savages, whose daughter Joycelyn, remains under Kelly’s spell. They haven’t had contact with their child in nearly two years.
New to come forward is former Epic Records intern Tracy Sampson, who’s speaking out for the first time and says her relationship with Kelly began when she was 16. “I thought he was a creep,” she recalls of an early meeting with Kelly in the recording studio Chicago Trax during which he forcibly kissed her and proceeded to “pleasure himself” in her presence, but that they would later start dating and eventually she fell in love with Kelly. Sampson later sued Kelly for sexual abuse, settling out of court for $250,000.
Attorney Steven Greenberg, who represents Kelly, dismissed accusations against his client as they relate to underage sex. “I deal with facts,” he said. “There is no evidence.”
But Pace, who was featured on “Surviving R. Kelly,” brings to light evidence she alleges will prove that she and Kelly had sexual relations — a T-shirt with his DNA on it, including semen.
Kelly has denied all allegations.
Watch a clip of Sampson on “Dateline” below.