Friday, January 25, 2030

Bob Malm: Club Protest Membership Countdown


By virtue of trying to shutdown criticism by going to court with his facially false claims that he had been threatened, pseudo-priest Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal signed up for the two-year membership at Club Protest. No refunds, late payments result in an extension of membership. And his decision to include Mike in his vendetta, his multiple lies in court, and his efforts to subpoena a dying woman, all mean Bob gets the special VIP add-on package — my online presence will continue ad infinitum. That’s right, Dysfunctional Bob gets the lifetime virtual membership. Hey, Bob always did think he was special. Well, he’s right.

So, this countdown timer doesn’t mark the countdown to an end to open hostilities. But it does mark the payout of Dysfunctional Bob’s basic Club Protest membership.That said, I have always believed in under-promise, over-deliver, so I will no doubt extend Bob’s basic membership well beyond his original contract. And Grace Episcopal gets in on the action, for free.

By the way, if you see that the counter has passed zero and is counting up, that means that perjuring priest Bob Malm and the parish are enjoying their special free bonus time.

Hey, if he behaves, maybe we can even spot Bob some core body fitness tips. Heaven knows he’s been looking rather well-fed in recent years. And it fits — Grace Church aka St. Dysfunction is looking a whole lot leaner and meaner these days.

See you at Dysfunction Junction aka Malm Square(d)!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Why Having Phil Smith on the Discernment Committee is Good



There’s a bit of good news with Phil Smith’s appointment to the discernment committee. Not only is Phil proficient in dealing with human resources (HR) issues — a much-needed skill when navigating the discernment process — but he also has a bit of St. Dysfunction history under his belt that may both warrant and facilitate further discussion within the committee and possibly the vestry.

Specifically, I believe that Phil is one of the parishioners who can confirm that Bob Malm lied repeatedly to members of the executive committee and the vestry about HR issues within the parish. Based on information from reliable sources, I believe that, during his tenure as a warden, Phil surfaced his concerns with HR issues in the church office. His efforts went nowhere, however, as Bob allegedly brushed him off, adding, “Don’t worry about it. They’ll be retiring this year,” referring to issues with Charlotte and Beth.

What it telling is that this was not a one-off misstep. Several years later, Bob Malm told me exactly the same lie when I raised similar issues during my time as junior warden. When I shared my concerns with other parish leaders, I quickly learned that this was not Bob’s first use of this lie to avoid accountability for himself and for church staff.

I also raised my concerns directly with Bob Malm, who at no point denied having lied. Instead, when these issues came up in subsequent meetings, Bob volunteered, “I don’t know when  [Beth and Charlotte] will be retiring.” 

Nor is Bob’s lie minor. 

In addition to having told this lie repeatedly, healthy organizations of every ilk treat lying about HR issues to board members and others who serve in a fiduciary capacity to the organization as being a serious matter. Indeed, such conduct would normally be grounds for immediate termination, and creates some serious legal issues under Sarbanes-Oxley and other federal ethics statutes.

Of course, that brings us back to my usual rhetorical question, which is where but in The Episcopal Church is it okay to employees to behaved like this? Such behavior doesn’t cut it in normal nonprofits, nor does it work in for-profits. 

So why is this okay?

And when will the parish publicly admit that Bob Malm was a liar. a perjurer and a bully?

Lastly, what steps will be taken going forward to ensure that future rectors don’t abuse their power, as Bob did in this case? My suggestion is that the vestry start by making clear that it represents the parish in such matters, not the rector, and that the rector does not get to interfere in vestry operations by appointing the executive committee. Episcopal churches should be representative democracies, not autocracies run by narcissistic clergy.

Feel free to quote me.

Shout Out to David Crosby

Given that David Crosby likes to materialize here in cyber from time to time with with his hypocritical church-speak, Jesus-babble, and claims to be able to assess mental illness without so much as speaking directly to the subject, here’s a quote for him from Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban’s excellent book on clergy misconduct, “Wholeness After Betrayal”:
By failing to disclose truths, we are in essence lying by omission....for our relationships to be trustworthy and authentic, we need to know the truth about ourselves and others. This is particularly true for all members of congregations who have been betrayed by a trusted leader, lay or ordained. Misconduct erodes trust, not only between the offender and the primary victim, but also among other members of a congregation. To begin to rebuild or establish trust, it is essential that misconduct, which typically involves secrets and secretive behavior, be brought to light.
My questions to David:
  • If you really are a Christian, why are you afraid to look into the question of Bob Malm’s perjury? 
  • Do you really think anyone believes Bob’s claim, made in writing, that I left on my own? If he did, why did Bob fell the need to tell church staff to exclude me? 
  • Why did Bob Malm include Mike Smith in his vendetta? 
  • Do you understand that failing to tell the truth is not only lying by omission, it will ultimately result in the collapse of Grace Church? 
It will soon be Lent, David. Time to tell the truth. The whole “there are two sides to every story” routine doesn’t cut it.




Episcopal priest David Crosby.

The Ethic Perils of Representing Multiple Parties

Attorneys for the church, the parish, the bishopric and the Malms face multiple ethical challenges. Not only are they in the distinctively unenviable place of having to defend questionable behavior on the part of Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow and the parish, but they are representing multiple parties in this matter. Not surprisingly, the latter carries with it certain ethical challenges.

Foremost among these problems is that of divergent interests among clients. This means that legal strategies and outcomes that may be beneficial to one client may run counter to the interests of other clients.

In the case of the Baltimore-based law firm representing the parish and diocese, we’re already seeing that issue at play. Specifically, at the last hearing, defense counsel motioned the court for dismissal on two bases: That the protective order was something Bob Malm pursued in his individual capacity, or that the issue before the court is one precluded by the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church.

Apropos the claim that Bob acted in his individual capacity, Bob Malm represented both to the vestry and to third parties that he was acting on behalf of the parish. Not only did he discuss the matter in advance with diocesan staff and members of the vestry, but in an email he claimed that his decision to pursue protective order was a form of “church discipline” he and the vestry had decided upon. How Bob Malm believes one can impose “church discipline” via the courts is beyond me, let along for someone no longer a member of the denomination, but then anything is possible in Sugarland. In fact, Bob Malm updated the vestry on the matter on multiple occasions, thus making it clear that he was acting as an agent of the parish.

That said, were defense counsel to prevail on that claim, the result would be to throw Bob Malm under the bus. Given the broken ethical reference point of the diocese and parish, this outcome would not surprise me. But it’s hardly the outcome one expects from a church, particularly when, as here, the diocese’s laissez-faire approach to clergy discipline allowed Malm to stupidly bully his way into the current hot mess.

Apropos defense counsel’s claim that judicial review of the matter is precluded by the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church, there’s the simple reality that the parish went to court in the first place. Having initiated legal action, it is difficult to assert with a straight face that the courts are now precluded from reviewing the matter. Nor would one wish to get too far out on that limb—next thing you know, you’re arguing that clergy perjury is protected by the canons. Hardly in the clients’ long-term best interest.

Where things really get dicey, however, is when one folds Bob Malm into the client mix.

In his individual capacity, Bob’s best interests are served by remaining under the umbrella of the parish’s D&O liability policy. If that is removed, he becomes personally liable for his actions—a situation that could leave him personally on the hook for massive punitive damages.

At the same time, admitting that Bob committed perjury and engaged in witness tampering (as he did by contacting Dee Parsons multiple times in an apparent effort to change her testimony) is highly problematic, for it exposes the parish and the diocese to the possibility of serious legal consequences, as well as possible criminal liability for Bob Malm.

This paradigm, already fraught with ethical and legal risks, is complicated by the fact that churches are called, by their nature, to bring light to darkness. Or, as Canon to the Ordinary Robin Hammeal-Urban says in her excellent book on healing from clergy misconduct:

By failing to disclose truths, we are in essence lying by omission....for our relationships to be trustworthy and authentic, we need to know the truth about ourselves and others. This is particularly true for all members of congregations who have been betrayed by a trusted leader, lay or ordained. Misconduct erodes trust, not only between the offender and the primary victim, but also among other members of a congregation. To begin to rebuild or establish trust, it is essential that misconduct, which typically involves secrets and secretive behavior, be brought to light.

In other words, failing to disclose the parish’s previous misconduct via Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow and others, or trying to sweep it under the rug via a non disclosure agreement (NDA), simply makes things worse and all but guarantees that Grace Church will collapse under the weight of its toxic culture.

Of course, folks at Grace Church will respond, “But it’s a friendly and welcoming place.” The reality,  however, is that while people at the church are cordial, the welcome mat is predicated on doing what they want. Those who criticize Bob Malm (or who are thought to have done so), will discover very quickly that they are persona non grata. And heaven help the person who runs afoul of the altar guild or the choir. That person will discover quickly just how thin Grace Church’s welcome is.

This also is a place where it’s okay to urge others to commit suicide, and that is shedding pledging units like a long-haired dog during the first hot days of spring.

That begs the issue: If Grace is such a slice of paradise, why is it in such a state of rapid decline?

And it begs my question: When will Grace Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and church leaders tell the truth about Bob Malm’s misconduct?




Grace Episcopal and Lenten Hypocrisy


Monday, February 17, 2020

Why Grace Church and the Diocese Cannot Win in Court


As Grace’s discernment committee begins the long, arduous road towards finding a successor to Bob Malm, the unpleasant reality of the mess Bob left behind looms. That includes the various lawsuits now under way against the parish, the diocese, and members of Bob’s family, which were precipitated by Bob Malm’s conduct as rector.

It’s also true that neither the parish, nor the diocese, can win in court.

What do I mean by that? Couldn’t they find some way to get the current cases dismissed?

The answer is simple. All litigation involves hazards and risks. So yes, the church and the diocese could conceivably obtain favorable results in court. But that doesn’t mean they actually win.

As with many conflicts, the current conflict is one that involves myriad issues. Many are not amenable to resolution in court. These include:

  • The church’s reputation.
  • Interpersonal dynamics within the parish.
  • The church’s role in the community.

As things stand, the worst thing that could happen to the church would be to prevail in court. Doing so would further reinforce the current conflict, while providing additional grounds for concern among outsiders who are looking at the church.

Moreover, a victory would help those with their heads in the sand assure themselves that, in fact, Bob Malm could not have committed perjury and otherwise been abusive. I mean, he’s such a good guy. He’s caring. He married us. He baptized my kids. His sermons are great. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded, maybe dangerous.

These are the logical fallacies that the Kemp Williams, Jean Reeds, Easter Thompsons, Susan Goffs and others in the church and diocese deploy to avoid dealing with the inconvenient truth, which is that Bob Malm is a bully, a liar, a perjurer, and someone who thinks it’s okay to try to drag a dying woman into court. One has only to read Sugarland Chiow’s courtroom rhetoric and fabrications to realize just how toxic this paradigm has become.

Nor is the diocese any better.

From that corner, we get the laughably appalling notion that clergy misconduct is only actionable if it it illegal. That conclusion enjoys the full support of Bishop Susan Goff, the Rev. Melissa Hollerith (who, amusingly, teaches ethics at St. Albans, and whose husband Randy is dean of the National Cathedral), and undoubtedly that of JP Causey, the diocesan chancellor. The latter is noteworthy, as his capacity for bad legal advice appears to know no bounds. For example, in the Title IV case at St. Thomas’ in McLean, Causey would seem to be the knucklehead who suggested to the Virginia bishops that they ignore the requirement of Title IV to provide a pastoral response to the congregation, but instead to keep the matter at arm’s length for fear of liability. The result was lasting damage and hard feelings within the parish. Nothing like protecting the organization at the expense of the people who make it up, huh?

And the cluelessness continues. The Rev. Sven vanBaars, the dingbat intake officer who thinks that clergy misconduct is only actionable if it results in criminal prosecution, has been elected as a delegate to general convention (GC). I guess that’s good—he can hang with fellow delegate JP Causey at the upcoming GC in Baltimore and commiserate about the protesters outside.

The bottom line is this: Until Grace Episcopal learns to be a church, versus a religious club, and worships God, versus Bob Malm, it will decline.

Yes, Bob’s carefully crafted communications have all the right church-speak and Jesus-babble, developed through observation, mimicry and repetition, but they are empty, hollow. Similarly, the church building is full of bright shiny things, carefully polished, but they mean nothing.

Same for the friendly, welcoming congregation. Yes, people are cordial, but criticize Bob Malm and see just how long that welcome lasts. Just check out the comments from the parishioner urging me to commit suicide if you want proof.

Same for the church’s other promises. For example, giving is supposed to be confidential, but Lisa Medley has no problem posting details of your giving on social media, even though, true to form, she gets the specifics wrong. Would you really want her potentially posting details of your bequest to the church on social media? The Legacy Society (of which I was a member) promises confidentiality, but if the church cannot protect your information while you are alive, why would you think it will do so when you are dead?

Of course, it is true that parishioners have done an admirable job of stepping up giving, even as number of pledging units collapses and attendance drops to record lows.

But the reality is that this is a church that is still trying to defend Bob Malm’s perjury, his efforts to drag a dying woman into court, and his various courtroom fabrications. Indeed, one has only to look at Malm’s emails to diocesan officials, replete with calling me “sick,” “twisted,” and “dysfunctional,” to know just how toxic the parish has become. And in honor of Bob’s efforts, the church has named the “new” narthex after him!

Nor is time on the church’s side. With vast swaths of the church membership well into retirement, the next 10 years will result in major demographic shifts. And yes, bequests to the parish may buy time, but even if parish investments were adequate to fully carry the church’s operations, the church is nothing without people in it. (Covering just current operating and maintenance costs for the building would require an endowment of $3.75 million, for the record.)

Neither is the church’s role in the community likely to pull in members. With well under 3 percent of total revenue going to local outreach and the diocesan pledge seriously underfunded, the place is hardly a center for outreach, and it sure as hell isn’t doing any healing.

Going forward, the church’s only hope is to clean up its act. When people see that Grace Church really is what it claims to be, a center for outreach and healing, then it can begin to rebuild. But as long as it clings to the notion that Bob Malm could not, would not be a bully and a perjurer, it is in dire trouble. Nor is it going to thrive when people in the church think it’s okay to call others “domestic terrorists;” to urge others to commit suicide; and for Alison Campbell, the altar guild, and the choir to play their childish games.

So yes, the church could win in court. But it can’t and won’t shut down the ability of people to criticize its actions, to discuss the parish in public and in cyberspace, and to warn people about the hypocrisy of life at Grace Episcopal. As the saying goes, the court of public opinion is open 24/7, 365 days a year, and there is irrefutable evidence that Grace is a toxic church where it’s okay for the rector to lie in court, and where this dynamic carries through into the daily life of the church.

And the truth will out, meaning that sooner or later, even the most diehard loyalists will find out that the parish is nothing but a pretty and whimsical illusion. And like the mirage of an oasis in a desert, getting tangled up with Grace Church may be a positive experience, even for a few years. But in the end, the painful reality sets in, which is that the church is anything but a safe refuge from the hot and barren desert.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Spiritual Abuse and Healthy Churches: Good Article in CT

There’s a good podcast on Christianity Today (“CT”) that discusses spiritual abuse in churches, why it’s often difficult to spot, and typically even harder to address. The information is very relevant to Grace Episcopal Church and the spiritual abuse/toxic dynamics within the parish. Take a listen here.

Key points:

Spiritual abuse, which often involves bullying and manipulation, typically is hard to detect, as it usually involves an ongoing series of small acts that, when examined individually, appear innocuous, but when taken as a whole, form a damning pattern.
  • Rejection of critical feedback, something I observed many times with Bob Malm, is a key indicator of spiritual abuse. Indeed, Bob refused all accountability, either ducking the issue with fabrications, such as saying of church office staff, “Don’t worry about it, they’ll be retiring this year,” or trying to shut it down via explosive outbursts of rage, as in when Lee Meeks brought up governance concerns concerning the Shrine Mont event at a vestry meeting.
  • Church leaders who engage in spiritual abuse often are adept at manipulating perceptions, thus making it difficult for people to realize just unhealthy a church has become. 
    • For example, consider Bob Malm’s “confession” in his final Grace Notes before retirement, in which he states, “in 30 years, I’ve not visited as much as I would have liked. As an example, out of the 15 current Vestry (sic) members, I’ve only visited the homes of 8!” That sort of pseudo-confession is typical of spiritually abusive leadership, and in Bob’s case amusing, as he never lacked time for golf, running/marathons or his month at the beach every summer. Indeed, I don’t recall ever hearing of Bob showing up at a hypothermia shelter, the homeless shelter, or any other ministry, except for Art on the Avenue and the annual altar guild tea. Hardly a grueling schedule, even by the most generous of standards.
  • Because spiritually abusive churches tend to place leaders on a pedestal, they tend to demonize critics. Moreover, one never sees concern within the church for those viewed as critics. 
    • While insiders view the situation as normal, outsiders may view church members’ conduct as childish, hateful, and toxic. Consider the comments on The Wartburg Watch, when Leslie Malm and Lisa Medley went on the attack after the publication covered Bob’s behavior at Grace Church. As one commenter put it, “While these parishioners may seem sane to themselves, they appear childish and hateful to outsiders viewing their actions.” 
    • Similarly, Kemp Williams’ emails about me, in which he says, “It is abundantly clear that Eric is psychopathic,” further illustrate the level of discourse within the parish. Leaving aside the fact that one would hope for better from members of the church, Kemp appears oblivious to the legal concept that opinion may be defamatory if the matter is provable as a matter of fact. The fact that conversations of this sort are acceptable and normative at Grace Church makes clear the depth and breadth of the issues within the parish, and the extent to which the diocese’s laissez faire attitude toward the parish is causing lasting harm. Here is Kemp’s email:


  • Because information flow within spiritually abusive churches often is tightly controlled, people rarely talk to others, preferring instead to talk about others. This is the case at Grace Church, where Bob tried to keep control of information by not releasing financial data, restricting dissemination of vestry minutes, and more. That trend continues to this day, and the fallout is reflected in Kemp’s email above. Given that Kemp has never discussed this thoughts directly with me, and Bob was for years largely indifferent to church security, one sees how this toxic paradigm plays out.
  • Denominational leaders, like Susan Goff, typically are willfully ignorant about issues of abuse, particularly spiritual abuse. They don’t understand it, and be choosing not to bring in those who do understand it and can advise them appropriately, they offer tacit and sometimes explicit support.
  • Toxic churches like Grace typically cause healthy individuals to seek other churches, leaving sycophants, empaths, enablers, and peacemakers at the helm. While these individuals often are well-meaning, they may have little appetite for directly addressing problems, particularly when the problems are as challenging as those involved in spiritual abuse. This certainly has played out at Grace Church, which has shed almost half of its pledging units in recent years, as well as numerous members.
    • Ironically, Lisa Medley claims that that I have said that my conflict is responsible for the church’s declining fortunes and that these issues transcend my conflict with Bob and the parish. She is correct that the parish’s problems go far beyond this conflict; indeed, her toxic responses underscore this reality.
    • Similarly, as the Rev. Robin Hammeal-Urban (canon to the ordinary for the diocese of Connecticut) notes, it is not the person who discloses abuse that is the cause of the harm that results. It is the abuser who is responsible for the harm. Thus, one can see in Kemp Williams’ email the classic response of a toxic church when abuse comes to light.
    • A healthy parish would be unaffected by the criticism of a former parishioner, no matter how noisy he or she might be. It is only as people realize that there indeed are serious problems that they begin to reduce their commitment to the church.
      • The fact that Bob Malm committed perjury, tried to drag a dying woman into court, repeatedly proffered false information to the courts, then tried to paper over the mess by seeking a settlement agreement containing non-disclosure and anti-disparagement clauses indicates just how toxic the church has become. 
  • As Dominique Benninger notes in recent media coverage of his experiences with spiritual abuse, “It is hard to trust once your faith has been used against you.”
  • In short, the best way to become a healthy church is to be a healthy church. And just like an alcoholic starts the road to recovery by acknowledging their problem, Grace Church will only be healthy when it tells the truth about what has transpired and the problems it faces. And like an alcoholic, Grace Church’s illness is progressive, meaning that left untreated it will only get worse, likely becoming terminal if it continues.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Reflections: Ethics, Legal Practice and Representing Lindsey Anders and Leslie Malm

Comment from Twitter About Bob Malm’s Conduct

Earlier today, I received a copy of a document indicating that Lindsey Anders and Leslie Malm are now represented by legal counsel in Alexandria. Out of respect for the attorney involved, I am not yet prepared to disclose the document, nor the identity of legal counsel. I do, however, want to reflect on the challenges facing legal counsel in such situations.

First, let’s look at the ethical issues confronting attorneys. Per the professional rules, these include the duty of candor to the tribunal. That means being truthful with the court, including not permitting deception by silence. Further, the ABA contemplates that attorneys must correct false material evidence, including that offered during discovery. This may take the form of private remonstration, supplemental answers to interrogatories, and more. But if the client fails to correct the deception, the lawyer may be forced to take matters into her own hands, even possibly having to withdraw from representation and disclose the false testimony to the tribunal. And while the rules talk about “actual knowledge,” and “reasonable steps,” neither can an attorney turn a willingly blind eye to client fabrications.

In the case of Bob Malm, I submit that Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s conduct failed to comport with these requirements. He knew, or had cause to know, that Bob committed perjury by claiming that Mom, or someone purporting to be her, contacted him repeatedly to set up appointments, then canceled. This simply didn’t happen, yet Bob and his attorney took no steps to correct his perjury. Moreover, the issue is material, as he cites this as one of the reasons for his assertion that Mom’s blog was really mine. Moreover, Bob separately asserted under oath that all of the answers to his interrogatories were true, so he lied a second time. Yet I have seen no evidence to suggest that Sugarland corrected his client’s lies. And then there is Bob’s fabrication that, to his knowledge, only his wife had blogged about our conflict...the list goes on. (Those new to the matter may wish to discover elsewhere in this blog the reasons behind Sugarland’s moniker.) 

Into this ethical morass we have a second issue, which is how members of the Malm family handle conflict. My conclusion is that Bob often gaslights others, or engages in revisionist history. Both Leslie and Lindsey appear to have picked up this habit, although to a lesser extent. Some examples:
  • Leslie Malm’s alleged claim to third parties that I admitted in court that Mom’s blog was really mine, both facially ludicrous and false. 
  • False assertions as to the genesis of our conflict.
  • Leslie Malm’s claim that I have stated that my mother was in her 90’s.
  • Fabrications in which they allege that I have misused church funds, engaged in criminal activity, and am mentally ill.
Woven as a thread throughout is juvenile behavior and ad hominem attacks by the Malms, ranging from comments about my sexual orientation, to remarks about the size of various body parts, to remarks about my mother. None of these are pretty, yet Bob and his family seemingly are all about outward appearance. 

Thus, the perennial issue facing all attorneys seemingly is at play here, which is whether Lindsey and Leslie will be candid and truthful with their legal counsel. Will they admit to their behavior, or will they try to pull a fast one on legal counsel? Past conduct suggests that the answer could well be the latter.

That of course raises other questions, including whether counsel for the diocese will ignore prior courtroom fabrications on the part of Bob and the parish. While both client and counsel may well find this to be a tempting route, the long-term interests of the diocese, the parish, and The Episcopal Church suggest disclosure is the wiser course. Nor is it wise to defend a series of fabrications, misleading statements of law and fact to the courts, ad hominem attacks, and other questionable conduct on the part of Bob Malm, Sugarland Chiow, and the parish.

There’s also the reality that, in litigation, the biggest issues often are non-legal in nature, ill-suited to resolution in the courts. Bob Malm’s strategy of decreeing critics “domestic terrorists,” his ugly and false comments to the parish vestry, to church members, and to others about me (non-privileged, since I was no longer a member of the parish, and I believe made with malice), have caused lasting damage to the church, the diocese, and the bishopric, regardless of the outcome of these cases. Indeed, some of Bob’s ugliest comments were made within the church, and having met with no objection, may illustrate larger issues within the organization. Nor is it easy to defend efforts to subpoena a dying woman in violation of Pennsylvania law.

In short, no matter how long this and the related cases are in litigation, and they could well go on for years, the harm caused by Bob Malm’s misconduct and that of parish legal counsel is largely irreparable. 

Next up: The ethical perils of representing multiple parties.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Great Online Resource: Church Trauma Blog



One of the great things about working with issues of church abuse is the people. Specifically, you get to meet some of the most wonderful people imaginable in the course of sharing your story and that of others.

And so it is with Dominique and Megan Benninger, a couple from south-central Pennsylvania who, like me, have endured spiritual and emotional abuse, including shunning and more, after they exposed wrongdoing in their former church.

I recently had the chance to chat with them about their blog, www.churchtrauma.org. Not only are the Benningers great people, but they get it. Abuse is abuse, whether it’s spiritual, emotional, sexual, relational or other. 

Even better, they are doing something about it. Not only is their blog a great read, but it’s clear to me that they are working hard to protect others and make the world a better place. I expect great things will come from them, and heartily recommend their blog to you.

On a marginally related note, I’ve been a little overwhelmed with the passing, just days apart, of my maternal grandmother and my mother. As a result, I haven’t been great at keeping up with the blogs or my other activities, and I’m very sorry at the delays in getting back with folks, etc. But I do plan to write more about the Benningers in the coming days—theirs is a fascinating story, and illustrates just how pervasive spiritual abuse is in houses of worship.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Petition Seeking Investigation of Perjuring Priest Bob Malm Passes 3,000 Signatures

Even as Bishop Susan Goff and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia continue to try to ignore Episcopal priest Bob Malm’s perjury, lies, bullying, misuse of funds and more, signatures on my petition keep pouring in.

This morning, we passed 3,000 signatures, and 4,000 won’t be far off.

If you believe that clergy should be held accountable, that clergy should not be able to get away with perjury, and that churches should not be trying to drag dying people into court, please sign my petition today. Even better, chip in a few dollars and help spread word, or share my petition on your social networks.

Let’s tell the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and perjuring priest Bob Malm’s new digs, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, that we expect better.

Thanks for your kind support.

Petition about perjuring priest Bob Malm passes 3,000 signatures



Friday, January 31, 2020

Nearby Church Proves Decline is Not Inevitable

As Grace Episcopal Alexandria continues its precipitous decline due to 30 years of feckless rector Bob Malm and the toxic church culture undercurrents he helped create and foster, it’s worth noting that the third fastest growing Episcopal church in the country is right here in Northern VA. That’s right—just 7.3 miles down the road from Grace Church, to be exact. That church is the Falls Church Episcopal (TFCE), which only a few years ago had an average Sunday attendance (ASA) of only 100 people, but has grown so quickly that ASA now surpasses that of Grace Church.

These data are derived from TFCE’s annual report, which is freely available online. Unlike Grace Church, TFCE makes its information public, because it’s got a message it wants to share with the community, and it doesn’t have secret agendas or other issues that it needs to hide for fear pesky bloggers see information about them. In other words, if you’re operating in the light of day, there’s no reason to keep stuff hidden. 

And not only is attendance at TFCE strong, but giving is as well. During the period 2010 to 2019, pledge and plate giving at TFCE more than tripled. By way of contrast, the number of pledging units at St. Dysfunction, aka Grace Episcopal, crashed and burned during that time, dropping from almost 400 to less than 200. And while the remaining pledging units have increased giving to try to make up the difference, Grace still faces profound financial challenges, having lost 33.55 percent of its purchasing power during the same period of time. 

Tellingly, it was in 2014 that perjuring priest Bob Malm demanded the demolition of the rectory and a massive increase in his compensation package, ultimately flushing more than $2 million in church funds down the toilet, while living life large with a month at the beach every summer, $3,000 going away parties for school staff, and more. Small wonder the church is in decline.

Here are TFCE screen caps relevant to this post:



And for those who’d like to see the TFCE annual report in full, it’s online here in PDF. Not only do us unenlightened heathens get access to that information without calling Amy Medrick, but TFCE actually welcomes all. Not some, not most, not all but the ones perjuring priest Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow decide to lie about and label “domestic terrorists.” And, knowing TFCE firsthand, I can tell you that there are no Alison Hambeast Campbells or Princess Porcine Lisa Medley’s trying to decide who is welcome, and who isn’t.

Check it out:










Grace Episcopal, the Clergy Perjury Parish



Thursday, January 30, 2020

Anyone Wonder if Lindsey Malm Anders is Going to be Candid With Her Attorney?

With my lawsuit now under way against Lindsey Malm Anders and Leslie Malm, I wonder if they are going to be candid with their attorneys.

I also wonder if members at Grace Episcopal know that, per sources at the Alexandria Police Department, it was Lindsey Malm who called the department to complain about a post on Fairfax Underground that she didn’t like, and which she claimed was written by me. Or if vestry members know that it was only after the police department told Lindsey that they could only act if there was threatening behavior that Bob Malm decided to commit a fraud on the court and lie by claiming he was threatened? 

Doubt it? Just come up with one jot or tittle of evidence that, per Bob Malm’s written claim under oath, Mom or someone claiming to be her contacted him repeatedly to set up appointments. And then you get morons like David Crosby bloviating on, saying, “Bobby Malm, You’re Amazing.”

Well, yes. It is amazing that perjury is okay for Episcopal clergy. And it’s amazing that Alternative Paths Training School thinks it’s okay for Lindsey Malm Anders to work with special needs kids with behavioral issues.

But most amazing of all is the notion that someone like Bob Malm can be considered an exemplary priest, despite being a perjurer, a bully, and feckless in the extreme.

Below, an example of the childish conduct that arises from growing up in the Malm household. Or maybe it’s a result of attending Tabor Academy. Or both.



And below, we have Bob’s written perjury:




Tellingly, elsewhere Bob Malm contradicts himself, claiming that the language of the blogs changed, with Mom’s blog allegedly becoming “threatening and violent.”

So which is it, Bob?

Bob Malm, perjuring priest.

Petition Demanding Susan Goff Address Bob Malm’s Perjury, Misconduct Passes 2000 Signatures, Even as Diocese Continues to Ignore Problems


You have to hand it to The Episcopal Church—it is remarkably stubborn in its defense of abuse. In fact, if it took such an extreme stand on women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues, and other important social issues, it would have been ordaining women in the 1700’s.

Doubt it? More than 2,000 signatories later, Bishop Susan Goff continues to hang out in that antebellum heap, Mayo House, trying to ignore Bob Malm’s perjury. She’s never once even had the integrity to talk directly with me, but she knows enough to be able to sign off on the notion that The Episcopal Church will only deal with clergy perjury if there are criminal charges, despite the fact that the clergy disciplinary canons expressly forbid “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation“ as well as “any conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.” See for yourself:




And here is a screen cap of the petition:



And people actually wonder why the Episcopal Church is collapsing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Sad News: Mom has Died


My last photo of Mom
Early yesterday, Mom died, literally minutes before I got to her home. The end was peaceful, as she dozed off and simply slipped away. I sat with her for the next several hours, holding her soft, frail hand, telling her I love her. Finally, a medical professional was able to brave the icy roads to declare her dead, and I went to the hotel for a few hours of fitful sleep.

Mom did manage to hang in there much longer than medical experts anticipated, due to both being a fighter and her skill as a retired RN. And she had several things she wanted to see happen before she died, including the end of abusive priest Bob Malm’s fraudulent protective order against me, which expired this past Friday. And she took gleeful pride in seeing photos of me and a small group of fellow protestors last Sunday, directly in front of Grace Episcopal Alexandria, my former church, where Bob Malm was rector for 30 years. Indeed, until the last 24 hours, Mom remained as alert as ever, even though she was unable to communicate.

No memorial service is planned, but if you would like to do something to honor Mom’s life and the love she brought to so many, please share this petition or chip in a few dollars so that others can sign.

My deepest thanks to everyone who has traveled with Mom and me on this most difficult journey.

https://www.change.org/abusivebobmalm

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Breaking News: Additional Lawsuits Filed

Earlier today, shortly after finishing up protesting outside Grace Episcopal with two other persons, I prepared the documents needed to bring lawsuits for defamation against Leslie Malm and Lindsey Malm Anders. I have emailed courtesy copies and will send formal documents tomorrow.

My plan is to pursue punitive damages, so I likely will have to move the suits to a venue with higher jurisdictional limits; the maximum in Virginia is $350,000 per cause of action.

Meanwhile, there’s an additional case a few weeks away against Bob Malm and the parish. I’m also contemplating a defamation case against a member of the parish who has repeatedly engaged in conduct of this sort.

It’s a shame that these actions are necessary, but it seems that litigation is the only thing Episcopalians understand.




Saturday, January 25, 2020

See for Yourself: Bill of Particulars in Lawsuit Against Grace Episcopal

Earlier today, I sent defense counsel by bill of particulars in my lawsuit against Grace Episcopal Church, Susan Goff, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Following are the relevant screen caps. Several additional actions will be filed in the coming days.






















































Further Proof Grace Episcopal Alexandria is Toxic

Yesterday, someone associated with Grace Episcopal posted several abusive comments on my change.org petition. I’ve included a screen cap below. And while I have turned these over to the police, as Virginia law makes direct contact of this sort potentially criminal, there’s a larger point here.



The larger point is that, even on a petition involving a dying person, people at Grace Church think this sort of thing is okay. And even having lost almost 1/3 of the church’s pledging units, a 33 percent decline in the church budget since 2008, and a 17 percent decline in attendance, they still don’t get it.

People at Grace Episcopal actually think this sort of behavior is okay for Christians. And they have absolutely no clue why 2/3 of people under age 30 have no use for organized religion, and why 1/3 are actively hostile to religion.

My advice: Avoid Grace Church at all costs. This is just the tip of the iceberg. And avoid Bob Malm—given his attitude and comments about parishioners, it should come as no surprise that people think this sort of childishness is okay.

And if you want to speak out about this sort of childishness, sign my petition at http://www.change.org/abusivebobmalm. Or email Bishop Susan Goff to share your thoughts at

sgoff@thediocese.net

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Check it Out: Petition Continues to Garner Signatures, Approaches 300



One of the amusing things about my social media presence is that Lisa Gardner, Lindsey Malm Anders and the other trolls connected with Grace Episcopal like to claim that no one supports my efforts. That of course is a bunch of hooey.

Leaving aside Dee Parsons and my almost 1500 Twitter followers, we are fast approaching 300 signatories on my petition to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to conduct a full, fair, and impartial investigation of Bob Malm’s abusive conduct. Again, impartial — not an untrained intake officer violating policy and calling up Bob Malm to ask him if he did anything wrong, then calling that an investigation.

Of course, the large number of people supporting me underscores another issue with Bob Malm, Grace Episcopal, Sugarland Chiow, and the Diocese of Virginia. The issue is that truth was never a relevant factor for any of the above when it comes to addressing conflict or acting like Christians. 

Nor does Bob Malm’s disclaimer, “Well, I’m not Jesus,” hold water. While the dissimilarity between Bob Malm and Jesus is well established, the disconnect does not justify perjury and other illegal behavior. In short, Bob’s comment is a red herring, nothing more.

Check it Out: Unless You’re Convicted, Perjury Is Okay for Clergy in The Episcopal Church

Here’s a good one: Another Title IV notice of dismissal from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

Where to start?
  • First, there is no requirement of a criminal conviction for conduct to be prohibited under Title IV. Indeed, Canon IV.4.1(h.6) makes clear that conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation is forbidden, period.
  • Second, it is not the role of the intake officer to assess whether a violation has taken place. It’s simply to ask two questions: If true, would the matter complained of be a violation of the canons and, if so, would it be “of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” Nothing more. Beyond that, the reference panel handles everything.
  • Third, there is no Title IV requirement of confidentiality apropos laity, and I refuse to be silenced by the church.  Requesting silence from those hurt by the church is highly inappropriate, just as is the case with the non-disclosure agreements of the Catholic Church.
  • Fourth, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has repeatedly ousted clergy for violations of Title IV, even when the complaint involves criminal conduct but there is no conviction. Out of respect for others, I don’t plan to publicly share specifics, but it is at best disingenuous for the diocese to contend that conviction is a prerequisite for a successful Title IV complaint.
  • Fifth, as of January 1, 2019, the identity of complainants is confidential per the express provisions of Title IV. So why is Bob copied on this and provided with my name? The diocese itself has violated Title IV.
  • Sixth, the diocese has repeatedly refused to provide the pastoral response required under Title IV, which must occur any time a complaint is made to the intake officer. Yes, even in cases of dismissal.
  • Seventh, police don’t charge suspects. Commonwealth attorneys do. Perjury also is notoriously hard to prosecute, so Mr. vanBaars essentially is saying that perjury is fair game for Episcopal clergy.
Screwed up, thy name is Episcopal.