Accused defamer's testimony: Trying to save Scouts from gays

Posted: January 14, 2010

Paul Corbett, the man who accused City Councilman Jack Kelly in a 2007 flyer of "voting with the homosexual lobby" to "promote sodomy to our youth," told a jury yesterday that he was trying to protect Boy Scouts.

Corbett, who is being sued by Kelly for defamation, said that he was angered after City Council voted in 2007 to force the local Boy Scouts chapter to move its headquarters off city-owned land unless the group stopped violating the city's anti-discrimination law by banning homosexuals.

"We're talking about homosexual activity being forced on the Boy Scouts, 12-year-olds," Corbett testified. "The only way [gays] can continue their culture is to get people to join them because they don't reproduce like normal people."

Corbett said that he aimed to embarrass Kelly out of office as a warning to other Council members.

"The intent was to show the rest of them that, hey, we can get you," Corbett told the jury.

It almost worked. Both sides say that the flyer played a key role in Kelly winning by the slim margin of 123 votes after a recount.

Kelly is seeking more than $27,000 in damages from Corbett, including legal and public-relations fees paid for the recount.

Kelly testified that he was concerned for his reputation and "nauseated" by the language Corbett used in the flyers. Corbett printed up 5,000 copies and stuck them on cars at 20 churches in Northeast Philadelphia just before the 2007 general election.

The flyers also accused Kelly of "contributing to the delinquency of minors."

Kelly said that the flyers, distributed at his Catholic parish in Northeast Philadelphia, left him worrying about what people thought about him during Mass.

Kelly rejected a claim by Corbett's attorney, C. Scott Shields, that he was "pandering" to the gay community with his vote.

"I want everyone to be happy with me," Kelly said. "You try to help as many people as you can. As a politician, that's what you try to do. I represent everyone in the city. I don't just represent Irish men from the Northeast."

Corbett testified that he believed that the "homosexual lobby" was a small group of people who held political power in the city. He distributed the flyers using the name Citizens Opposed to Politicians who Pander to Perverts.

Corbett described that group as consisting of himself, his wife and about 30 relatives.

The jury was expected to hear closing arguments in the case this morning and start deliberations by this afternoon.

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