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Former intern alleges R. Kelly abused her starting when she was 16 years old

"I just didn't know what to do. Like, I didn't know if this was normal," Tracy Sampson told NBC in her first on-camera interview.
Image: Portrait of Tracy Sampson in Chicago, IL
Portrait of Tracy Sampson in Chicago, IL on April 21, 2018.Whitten Sabbatini / For The Washington Post via Getty Images file

A woman who said she interned at Epic Records when she was a teen alleges that R. Kelly sexually abused her beginning when she was 16 years old.

Tracy Sampson said she met Kelly in the summer of 1999 when she was a 16-year-old intern at the famous label.

Sampson, 36, speaking to NBC's Dateline in her first on-camera interview, claimed Kelly allegedly tried to kiss her when she was underage and began a sexual relationship with her.

She said the musician asked her, "'Can I kiss you?' and I was like, 'No,'" to which he responded, "'Well, give me a hug.' And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me."

"I was in love with him," she said. "I just didn't know what to do. Like, I didn't know if this was normal. I didn't know if this is how adults acted."

Image: R. Kelly
R. Kelly performs onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on June 30, 2013.Frank Micelotta / Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP file

Another woman, Jerhonda Pace, meanwhile told NBC that she believes she has potential evidence of R. Kelly's sexual abuse of her when she was a teen.

Jerhonda Pace, whose allegations against the singer were first published by Buzzfeed in 2017, said she has a T-shirt from when she was 16 that has R. Kelly's spit and semen on it, and therefore his DNA.

Police in Olympia Fields, Illinois, confirmed to NBC that they took a report from Pace and collected some items from her but would not give details.

Kelly's lawyer, Steven Greenberg, told NBC he is unaware of any such claims about alleged evidence on a T-shirt.

Pace and Sampson both spoke to NBC two weeks after the airing of a Lifetime series, "Surviving R. Kelly," which chronicles a range of allegations against the R&B singer, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Kelly, 52, has denied all wrongdoing, and he has never been convicted.

He was accused of child pornography after a video circulated that appeared to show him having sex with and urinating on a teenage girl. He was acquitted of all charges in 2008.

Sampson said she filed a lawsuit against Kelly after she turned 18 and ended their relationship, claiming the singer sexually abused her. She said she settled the lawsuit for $250,000 in 2002.

Kelly's attorney told NBC News that he didn't represent the artist when Sampson alleges she was abused, but he was adamant that his client has done nothing wrong.

Greenberg said there is no evidence of Kelly's having sex with underage girls "because it didn't happen."

Asked by Dateline if it is a coincidence "that all these women are coming forward," Greenberg said, "There's not 'all these women'. There's a few women who are making these allegations for which there's no proof.

"The record companies are abandoning him. Other artists are all of a sudden acting like they’re shocked by these rumors that – that are floating around. He’s having a very difficult time. But he is strong, he’s tough. He wants to put out his music and continue performing for people. And I expect that’s what he’ll be able to do," Greenberg said.