Details of R. Kelly’s STD status are no longer trapped in the closet.
Last Thursday (Aug. 19), Kelly’s physician of 25 years, Dr. Kris McGrath, took the stand in the disgraced R&B singer’s federal trial for racketeering and sex trafficking in Brooklyn, N.Y. McGrath became Kelly’s doctor back in 1994 and testified under oath that he began treating the star for genital herpes in March 2007, according to medical records presented by prosecutors.
The doctor also testified that he suspected Kelly had contracted the STD as early as 2000 based on symptoms exhibited by the “Down Low” singer. Although a lab test came back negative for the STD, McGrath explained, “I did not conclude that he did not have herpes,” noting the timing of the test can result in false negatives.
However, in March 2007, McGrath began regularly prescribing Kelly with Valtrex—an antiviral drug often used to treat genital herpes. In fact, the Chicago-based doctor claimed calls for refills from Kelly and his associates were so frequent that he came to know the number for the pharmacy by heart.
“It was so often that I had memorized the number to that Walgreens,” said McGrath even reciting the phone number in court.
McGrath—who admitted he never received payment for his services “at all,” but instead accepted free cross-country concert tickets and travel costs for him and his wife—also testified that he cautioned Kelly to “inform your sexual partners so they can make a decision whether or not to have sex with you.” Advice prosecutors argue Kelly did not follow as they claim he knowingly infected multiple partners with the incurable STD.
On Wednesday (Aug. 18), Jerhonda Pace, the first-ever accuser to testify in court against Kelly, alleged that in 2009 he sexually abused her without protection when she was 16, and a few months later she developed genital herpes.
Now 28 years old, married, and more than 38 weeks pregnant, Pace testified the 54-year-old did not disclose that he had the disease. Furthermore, when she informed Kelly of her symptoms, she said he seemed unfazed.
“He didn’t really react to it,” recalled Pace, who was featured in the Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. “He just said OK.” Then had her examined by a doctor at his home, who told her to take medicine.
During her testimony on Thursday, Pace told jurors that she lost her virginity to Kelly at age 16, both details she said she informed him of. Even though she was already just a teen during their relationship, Kelly asked her to dress even younger when they engaged in sex, which he often recorded with a camera on a tripod.
“He wanted me to put my hair up in pigtails and dress like a girl scout,” Pace told jurors.
The two met after Kelly noticed the teenager outside the courtroom during his 2008 child pornography trial in Chicago. Pace—who described herself as a “superfan” of the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer in a 2008 interview with MTV News—would skip school every day to show her support for his innocence.
“I never had any doubt they would find him not guilty,” Pace told the outlet at the time.
After the trial, an affiliate of Kelly contacted the then 15-year-old via MySpace and they eventually engaged in a six-month-long relationship that Pace maintains turned emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive.
Following her testimony, Pace took to Instagram to show off her baby bump and share the news of her courageous court appearance. “[ I DID IT ] with 9 days until my due date. We are one step closer to justice,” wrote Pace. “Testifying against my abuser was NOT easy, but it was a huge relief.”
Watch a recap of Day 2 of the trial below: