ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 5, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Eric Bonetti, the first person married to a same-sex partner at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria VA, is suing his former priest in the Federal District court for the Eastern District of Virginia, case number 1:21-cv-00190. The pleadings allege that the Rev. Robert Hiller Malm, while acting as rector of the church, committed perjury in a previous lawsuit against the plaintiff, engaged in witness tampering, concealed evidence, and falsely accused Bonetti of threatening Malm and the church. Further, the complaint alleges that Malm and the other defendants colluded to infringe Bonetti’s First Amendment rights, including to criticize the church and its clergy.
The complaint specifically alleges that Malm, acting on behalf of the church, falsely claimed that Bonetti’s late mother, then dying of COPD and bedridden for several years, or someone claiming to be her, contacted Malm repeatedly to schedule appointments, only to no-show.
The pleadings further allege that the City of Alexandria engaged in discriminatory, biased policing by assisting Malm and the church in their previous lawsuit, while ignoring the Plaintiff’s allegations of criminal activity by Malm.
In motions recently filed with the court, Bonetti has asked for permission to add additional defendants to the case, including the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and St. Gabriel’s parish in Marion Massachusetts.
The City of Alexandria and other defendants have filed motions to dismiss. A preliminary hearing in the matter is set for late May.