Ontario street preachers under investigation after ‘inappropriate comments’

Two men wearing sandwich-board style signs are being investigated by Waterloo Regional Police. The signs had quotes from The Bible on them.

Quinn Patrick Montreal QC

Two men wearing sandwich-board style signs are being investigated by Waterloo Regional Police. The signs had quotes from The Bible on them. One read, “the judgement of the great whore” (Revelation 17:1) and the other, “she that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (Timothy 5:6).  The two men were also yelling “inappropriate comments” at women walking by them on Thursday afternoon.

Most of the confrontations the two men were engaging in were with young women crossing at the corner of King and University. Karen Nancarrow was stopped at the light when the two men began accosting her she told CBC.

“The first thing they asked me is: ‘Are you a Christian?’ And I just ignored them. And not having responded affirmatively, they started yelling at me. They started calling me all kinds of lovely names. They called me a whore, they called me a prostitute.”

The men also told Nancarrow she should “be home serving [her] husband’s needs.” She decided to pull her car over so she could calm down and gather her thoughts. She continued to watch the men do the same to other women as they passed by and decided to call WRPS.

As she waited for police to arrive, Nancarrow picked a spot down the sidewalk and warned approaching women to avoid the men. That is, she says, until she saw the men focus more intensely on a group of three young women who appeared to be in their early 20s—the same age as Nancarrow’s own daughters.

“The girls were kind of stuck there because they were waiting for their light. They couldn’t really go anywhere,” said Nancarrow. “I guess I felt my mama bear come out.”

“I saw them really berating them, and the women kept saying ‘No, leave us alone. Stop.’ And they weren’t really listening, they were saying all kinds of awful things to these young girls.” Nancarrow decided to exit the vehicle and went over to form a physical barrier between the men and the women until the police arrived.

Police constable Dietrich said they are investigating whether or not what the men said falls under criminal harassment charges. Steven Ravbar and Matthew Carapella have already earned a reputation for this kind of behaviour around London, Ont.  They refer to themselves as street preachers.

The city of London received more than 75 complaints about the pair between January and March of this year. The city recently changed its public nuisance bylaw in order to charge Ravbar and Carapella.

London now prohibits “unnecessary interference with the use and enjoyment of public space” such as the use of insulting language. The fine for this new bylaw is $750. Nancarrow said she hopes Waterloo Regional Police will lay charges or use the local bylaw to fine. “It looks like these guys have been doing it a long time, so I really hope something’s done about it,” she said.


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