Fake monk who handed out leaflets in Ely denouncing homosexuals banned from distributing such material for five years

How we reported the fake monk last year

How we reported the fake monk last year - Credit: Archant

A religious activist who handed out leaflets in Ely denouncing homosexuals - and claiming homosexuality was a ‘sin and vice’ -has been banned by a court from distributing any similar material for five years.

The fake cleric from Northamptonshire has been given a Criminal Behaviour Order preventing him from distributing leaflets about religious, sexual or reproductive topics to any residential, commercial or academic address and door-knocking to express his views for the next five years.

Damon Jonah Kelly, had been distributing leaflets dressed in a monk’s robe in a variety of different locations including the East Midlands, Brighton, Cambridgeshire and the West Midlands since 2012.

Last year he wrote to the gay news publication, Pink News, claiming to have leafleted Ely on multiple occasions as well as Cambridge, King’s Lynn and several other towns and cities.

In the letter, Kelly claims to have been arrested on nine occasions and said that he had brought his 2014 campaign to a “satisfactory conclusion”.

The leaflets expressed his views denouncing a number of groups and communities, including faiths different to his own, divorcees and people using assisted childbirth, but principally targeting the gay community.

Hundreds of leaflets likening homosexuality to paedophilia while claiming that it can be “healed” were posted through letter boxes across Ely.

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The leaflet claimed that being gay is a disease and that it had become a dangerous cult.

The leaflet read: “Homosexuality, as well as being a sin and a vice, is essentially a neurosis, a pathological condition; the result of several factors including childhood experiences.

“If the practice of homosexuality is acceptable, then in time any form of sexual deviation, perversion and experimentation will be acceptable, including the progressive lowering of the age of consent, taking it below the age of puberty and thus legalising paedophilia. A common form of homosexuality is pederasty.

“The condition of homosexuality can be treated and healed, as all distorted sexuality can be healed, and as many cases in recent years have proved.

The leaflet went on to suggest that gay people should not be persecuted but said that it should also “not be encouraged”. “They need healing not approval” the leaflet claimed.

Many people who read his leaflets were upset and offended by them, and reported his activities to the police. The leaflets were described by witnesses as ‘vile’, ‘offensive’ and ‘upsetting’.

In October 2014, Kelly delivered a leaflet expressing his views about homosexuality to the home of a same-sex couple, who remonstrated with him about the leaflet and its content. He returned to the address two weeks later with a letter addressed to them, again expressing his views. He was arrested and charged with harassment without violence for targeting this couple. He pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court in June.

On Friday he was sentenced to a 12-month community order, requiring him to do 170 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge. The unpaid work was increased from 140 hours because his offending was homophobically aggravated and therefore treated as a hate crime.

The court also imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order, allowing Kelly to hold and express his views, but not so as to invade the privacy of others. Specifically, the order, which is in force for the next five years, prohibits him from:

* Distributing unsolicited material about religious, sexual or reproductive topics to any residential, commercial or academic address in England and Wales and;

* Calling at any residential premises in England and Wales, whether by doorbell, knocking or any other means for the purposes of distributing such unsolicited material, without prior permission of the occupier.

Lisa Morris, senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands said: “Damon Kelly has caused offence when distributing his leaflets.

“The right of free speech is extremely important in our society, but when this crosses the line into harassment, it is important that the public is protected. This Criminal Behaviour Order is necessary to balance Damon Kelly’s right to free speech with the need to protect the public from such further conduct.

“It is important that communities are aware that he has been banned by the courts from these activities. Anyone who thinks they have seen Damon Kelly breaching this Criminal Behaviour Order should contact their local police force and report it.”