Calls for the resignation of Lee County Board of Education member Patrick Kelly followed public allegations at Monday’s meeting of the Lee County Commissioners that he engaged in “an alarming pattern of behavior.”
The allegation against Kelly, of practicing “bondage, submission and sado-masochism,” was made by Jim Womack during the public comment session of the commissioner’s meeting.
In an email Tuesday to the board of education, Commission Chairman Kirk Smith called on members to demand Kelly’s resignation and seek a public apology.
Womack, chairman of the Lee County Republican Party, whose wife, Sherry Womack, is on the school board, claimed that photos of Kelly were found on sexually explicit websites.
Kelly declined to comment Tuesday and referred all questions to his lawyer, Jonathan Silverman, who had not returned a phone call as of press time.
The photos were found by John Zumwalt, a Moore County blogger, according to Womack.
“As of a week ago, his (Kelly’s) image appeared to be clearly visible in one or more pictures,” Womack said. “I understand Mr. Kelly may be retaining counsel and claiming a defense of ‘Revenge Porn’ — but that is no defense for leading any lifestyle fraught with immoral and unethical behaviors demeaning young women.”
On March 10, at 3:24 p.m., Kelly, 35, filed a report with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
The report, taken by Detective Steve Freeman, said that Kelly “was notified by a friend that there was possibly a photo of him with a girl on a massage table that was seen on Facebook.
“Victim stated that he looked for the image on Facebook and after several days, the photo showed up on the victim’s Facebook feed,” Freeman wrote. “Victim stated that it was under the account of Brian Thomas.”
Kelly took photos of several pages after finding the picture in question, the report said.
“The photo was then later shared by other people in the community and emailed to members of the Lee County School Board to the employment members of the victim,” Freeman wrote.
“Case continues further investigation, nothing further to report at this time.”
The status of the case is marked as “unfounded.”
Womack handed out copies of a request for an investigation of Kelly for violating school board policy that was sent by Zumwalt to Sandra Bowen, chairman of the school board.
If violations are found, the document said, Kelly should be removed from the board.
Attached to the letter were photos allegedly taken from various sex-oriented websites.
In his remarks, Womack said the board of education was inconsistent in dealing with “allegations of misconduct.”
Two months ago, Sherry Womack attended a “Save America” rally in Washington, D.C., which preceded the insurrection resulting in the breaching of the Capitol building.
She was not involved in the attack.
“At the time, there was zero evidence she had violated any policies, ethical mandates or criminal statutes; yet, she had to tolerate the witch hunt,” Jim Womack said.
After some Lee County residents questioned Sherry Womack’s attendance at the rally, the board of education voted to look into whether she violated any policies.
The investigation turned up no wrongdoings.
“She received no apology for being subjected to this abuse,” Womack said.
Smith, in his email, referred to the “documentation and photos exposing School Board member Patrick Kelly in a rather ‘unprofessional’ image.”
Smith referred to the four women on the school board, saying “it must be extremely uncomfortable to work with an obviously misogynistic individual.”
Kelly is the assistant director of Student Outreach at Central Carolina Community College.
Kelly was elected to a four-year at-large term on the school board in 2016. He was re-elected to a four-year term in November.