‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Episodes 3 and 4 Recap: Sex Tape Scandal and Trial Examined
Lifetime's documentary series Surviving R. Kelly features survivors and people from R. Kelly’s inner circle who have come forward with new allegations about the R&B singer's alleged sexual, mental and physical abuse towards women at different times over the last 20 years. Check out XXL’s review of night two of this powerful docuseries.
Episode 3 - "Sex Tape Scandal"
In episode two of Surviving R. Kelly, Lisa Van Allen was introduced as another woman who was sexually active with the singer before she even hit 18. She's a former backup dancer who met R. Kelly at the age of 17 and engaged in a sexual relationship with the singer that included threesomes with other underage girls.
Van Allen explains further on her sexual trysts with Kelly in episode three. She acknowledged that the singer would often videotape their sexual acts without her permission. She didn't realize how consistently he would record their encounters until she discovered a bag he had that was full of tapes. Van Allen started to watch some of them and discovered that she was on many of the tapes performing sexual acts with Kelly along with an underage girl.
R. Kelly's former tour manager/assistant Demetrius Smith also acknowledged that the singer recorded and collected sex tapes for his own personal use. "He would come to me and say, 'Man, we got to pray. I can't control myself with these tapes,'" he revealed.
Meanwhile, at the Chicago Sun-Times, reporter Jim DeRogatis received an anonymous tip that Chicago Police sex crimes unit has been investigating Kelly for some time regarding his relationships with underage girls.
DeRogatis teamed up with legal affairs reporter Abdon M. Pallasch and soon discovered that their were several lawsuits filed against Kelly for alleged sexual misconduct with young girls. Almost all of them had been either impeded due to lack of cooperation from witnesses or they have been settled out of court.
For the record, R. Kelly has consistently denied allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls despite having settled in these lawsuits.
In February 2002, an anonymous package was delivered to DeRogatis at the Sun-Times. It was a tape that allegedly features Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The tape was described as graphic hardcore porn with an underage girl that included urination and oral sex.
R&B singer Stephanie "Sparkle" Edwards, who appeared in episode two of Surviving R. Kelly, revealed that the girl in the tape was, in fact, her niece.
"It fucked me up," Sparkle says of the tape before bursting into tears. "It's over with, but it still haunts me. It should have never happened. I should have never introduced him [R. Kelly] to my family. How dare you, how dare you."
"On the tape, my niece has the same hairstyle she had when she turned 14. That was her, for sure," she added. "And that was him. Definitely."
Van Allen also confirmed that it was Sparkle's niece in the tape as well. "He and I were actually having sex with her. I was unaware of how young she was," she said, adding that the young girl was 14 and she was 18 at the time of their encounter.
Soon bootleg copies of the "R. Kelly sex tape" were being sold on the streets, barbershops and distributed on porn websites.
"[R. Kelly] has no moral clock," said Jovante Cunningham, Kelly's former backup singer and friend of Sparkle. "I can only imagine what his wife was going through."
Andrea Kelly, the singer's now ex-wife, was in the dark about the sex tape scandal. She was immediately transported to a home in Florida with no explanation. Andrea was scared to death and alone. On top of that, she was also pregnant with their third child. "I was broken," she said.
The stress was so overwhelming that it put her unborn baby's life in jeopardy. During a trip to the OBGYN, doctors told her they couldn't hear her baby's heartbeat and were forced to induce labor.
On June 5, 2002, the day after Andrea delivered their third child, Robert, Jr., Kelly was arrested on 21 counts of child pornography charges.
"And I remember, after having (the baby), that's when the day happened," she recalled. "I was in the hospital with the baby [watching TV], and then it comes across the screen like, 'R&B singer R. Kelly has been arrested for child pornography.' And I just remember my best friend was with me, and she said she didn't know what happened, but my body went limp, and she said she caught little Rob before he hit the floor. I remember a buzzing sound, it almost felt like I couldn't hear."
At the time, R. Kelly was now in the legal fight of his life. The singer's case and his infamous trial are the subject of episode four.
Episode 4 - "The People Vs. R. Kelly"
The fourth episode of Surviving R. Kelly finds R. Kelly arrested on 21 counts of child pornography charges. Despite the charges, the singer was able to post bail shortly after and allowed to travel to perform shows, so it was business as usual.
Despite the sex tape scandal, Kelly was still releasing music. At that time, the singer released Chocolate Factory, which featured the hits “Ignition (Remix)” and “Step in the Name of Love.”
His wife, Andrea Kelly, finally realized that her marriage to the embattled singer wasn’t going to get better—it was only going to get worse. With only $2,400 in her pocket, a duffle bag and her three children in tow, Andrea left the Florida home they were staying in, vowing to never return to R. Kelly.
With an arrest and the news widespread, Kelly's child pornography trial was postponed for years. After a six-year delay, the singer’s child porn trial finally began on May 9, 2008.
Initially, Kelly’s attorney tried to claim that it was actually Carey Kelly, the singer’s younger brother, that was in the video. According to Bruce Kelly, the singer’s older brother, R. Kelly's legal team offered Carey a $100,000 payoff and a recording contract if Carey would agree not to speak negatively about R. Kelly and his alleged crimes, which Carey turned down.
Meanwhile, Jerhonda Pace, a self-described R. Kelly super fan, was skipping school and going to the singer's trial every day. She was 14 years old at the time. Outside of the courthouse, Pace would yell words of encouragement to Kelly before he entered the building. One day he noticed her and ordered one of his handlers to get her phone number.
During the trial, the prosecution called 14 witnesses, including Lisa Ann, who testified that it was Sparkle’s niece in the video. Lisa recognized the body of Sparkle's niece because she once had sexual relations with the child.
Shockingly, Sparkle’s brother-in-law took the stand and said that it wasn’t his niece in the tape. In addition, her niece, who allegedly appeared in the sex tape, as well as her niece's parents, also denied that she was the person in the video, despite other witnesses positively identifying her during the trial.
On June 14, 2008, the jury came back with a not guilty verdict, which stunned everyone in the courtroom. Sparkle doesn't know if the family was paid off for their silence.
Andrea eventually filed for divorce from R. Kelly and was granted an order of protection from the singer. Since finalizing her divorce in 2009, Andrea has claimed that the singer has not paid child support for his three children.
One year after the trial, R. Kelly called Pace, the young girl who always greeted the singer every day outside of the courtroom, and invited her to his Chicago mansion. He asked her to bring a bikini. She was 16 years old at the time.
Pace arrived at the mansion where he was having a listening party for his Untitled album at his swimming pool. She was instructed to put on her bikini and model for him. After a while, Kelly told Pierce to remove her top, which then led to Kelly kissing her.
She claims she told him she was a virgin, to which Pace says Kelly replied, “That’s perfect. I get to train you and take your virginity.”
According to Pace, she lost her virginity to Kelly and recalls the sexual act as nothing memorable. “I thought to myself, ‘Oh well, I guess I lost my virginity,” she said.
Pace stayed at Kelly’s house for several months and was given rules during her stay. She wasn’t allowed to make phone calls, talk to the other girls in the house or to any of the staff. Pace revealed that she was often mentally and physically abused by the singer.
Another form of punishment that Kelly would often use on the girls was starvation, Pace also claims. The longest she had gone without food was for three days (she survived off water and packets of peanuts she would hide for herself).
In 2009, Pace was ordered by R. Kelly to find another girl to bring to the house. She picked Dominique Gardner, who was a friend she communicated with on MySpace. Gardner was soon invited to the mansion and before long was staying at Kelly’s house.
Gardner’s mother, Michelle Kramer, was in shock that her daughter was at Kelly’s house. She tried to bring her daughter home with help from the police but to no avail. Kramer then called R. Kelly and told him to remember her name. This wouldn’t be the last time Kramer would have to confront the singer.
In episode five and six, viewers will get to follow Kramer as she attempts to rescue her daughter and get her out of R. Kelly’s lair.
R. Kelly’s alleged sex cult is explored further in the final two episodes of Surviving R. Kelly, which will premiere on Saturday (Jan. 5) at 9 and 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
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