Mendeecees Harris manipulated a girl in her mid-teens into having sex with him on a regular basis in his Lodi home, a prosecutor told jurors in Hackensack today during opening arguments in the former “Love & Hip Hop” star’s rape trial. Harris faces seven counts of illegal sex with the girl, including giving her money as an inducement, Maurice told the jury, outlining a “very skillful manipulation” of a young girl who “had had a bit of a rough upbringing.”
Some of the incidents allegedly occurred while the youngster was still 15 and others after her 16th birthday, when Harris was more than four years older – the standard in New Jersey for statutory rape.
If convicted of the charges, Harris would face up to 20 years in prison.
“Mendeecees made me feel comfortable. He would give me advice. He’d say ‘It’ll be okay between you and your mom’,” the woman said.
Then came an afternoon when, with no one else home, she realized in the shower that she didn’t have a towel.
“I asked him to get me one, and he did,” the woman testified. “Then he came into my room and suggested I let him masturbate on me, but I just laughed.”
The suggestions continued, she said, until she relented. She said Harris then gave her $15 or $20 “for lunch or maybe a ball game.”
But that wasn’t enough for him, the woman testified: Using an extremely private piece of information, he coerced her into providing oral sex.
“He told me he knew I had been raped when I was 8 years old,” she said, “and he found out from my mother.
“ ‘Your mom doesn’t want you here’,” the woman said Harris told her before exposing himself.
She said she complied with his desire out of spite “to get back at my mom.”
“I felt betrayed by her,” she said. “I didn’t tell her about it until I was 14, and it was something I didn’t want anyone to know.”
Similar favors were demanded – and provided — for “$15 or $20” when she needed money for expenses, the woman testified. Eventually Harris enlisted her younger brothers by suggesting, when they asked him for money, to “talk to your sister. She knows what she has to do.”