Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Saturday, September 15, 2018
- The “Grace Episcopal Philosoraptor” post and meme are mine.
- That this is all about the fact I wasn’t asked to be senior warden.
- That she hasn’t written to me.
- That I am a compulsive liar.
- That God will punish me in heaven for sharing my experiences with Grace Church.
- The original post and meme are not mine. That said, if Leslie had half the common sense God gave a goat (or half the intellect), it would be pretty obvious who did develop and publish these items. Thus, we see firsthand the paranoia that is rampant in the place — like referring to me as a “domestic terrorist.”
- Actually, Bob did ask me to serve as senior warden, although that was not the position in which I was hoping to serve. My preference, had anyone bothered to ask, would have been to continue as junior warden. That said, after asking, Bob reversed course and asked Lisa, no doubt as tit-for-tat for having insisted that he address the lunacy in the church office. A rude way to handle things, and some would say inappropriate on multiple fronts, given my labors following the flood at the church just prior to Bob’s accident, but what else can you expect from a “priest” like Bob Malm? And Lisa, who was never particularly popular in the church and was originally elected to the vestry as an alternate (meaning she was at the bottom of the heap in terms of votes), in my opinion proved to be exactly the senior warden that Bob deserved. That is all I have to say on that matter.
- No one said Leslie has written to me. Ever. She did, however, repeatedly contact me via the webform on my former website; I didn’t include a form on my new site so I wouldn’t have to listen to nonsense of this sort.
- Defamatory and untrue. But were that the case, members of the parish have heard things like, “Don’t worry about it, they’ll be retiring this year,” often enough that I would be in not-so-good company. And if it were the case, Leslie’s response hardly mirrors what should be normative for Christians. And speaking of lying, Leslie has yet to respond to my friend Dee Parsons’ email asking why Leslie told the former that I had admitted in open court that Mom’s blog is really mine. Nor is this the first time that Leslie has lied about this matter.
- If God and heaven in any way reflect Bob or Leslie Malm’s conduct or that of Grace Episcopal Church, no thanks. You can keep all of the above. And having left the Christian faith, I turned my back on all that nonsense long ago. No desire to waste time and money on a super-annuated geriatric fraternity boy who thinks he’s special, or his family, or his church, or any of the tomfoolery that goes along. So I am not worried about those issues, not in the least.
Friday, August 31, 2018
On the ethical front, false and inflammatory pleadings are never helpful, and only serve to discredit the party that deploys such tactics, as well as their client. Indeed, such strategies are invariably a red flag that the underlying case is weak.
Moreover, if you consider who Jeff’s client is (an amorphous proposition at best, as he claims to be counsel of record for Bob Malm, for Leslie Malm, and for Grace Church, not all of whom appear to be free from adverse interests), you’d think there’d be some concern for reputational damage. But instead, like attorneys for the Catholic Church who for many years followed a scorched-earth policy in their defense of sex abuse claims, Jeff has pursued a strategy guaranteed to cause long-term damage to the client’s reputation. Even in this day and age, when churches enjoy relatively little respect within society, there is still the belief that churches should take the high road. But having taken the low road time after time, Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow has made sure that folks will distrust his client(s) for years to come, and has managed to solidify what previously was a somewhat inchoate dispute into one that is now focused and enduring.
It also belabors the obvious to state that it’s not a great idea to lie to the court. There’s never a good outcome, and disparaging my service as a police officer without apparently even so much as Googling me underscores both Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s feckless ethics and the marginal quality of the legal representation provided by Rogers, Joseph O’Donnell (RJO). Same goes for checking out my attorney registration—it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that I was licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania. And it’s doubly appalling given Jeff’s claims to have spent lots of money researching my allegedly bogus claims—my guess is that Jeff used the same knucklehead who came up with the fictitious town of Sugarland Texas. Even worse is Jeff’s false claim that I violated the protective order—an assertion that is facially untrue, and for which there is no non-frivolous argument in support of Jeff’s contention.
Then there’s the whole concept of entering Pennsylvania, a state that doesn’t permit discovery in restraining order cases, and trying to drag a dying woman into court. Can we say, “Multiple layers of stupidity?”
As things stand, it not only looks like a cruel and remarkably un-Christian thing to do, but it very much looks like Jeff was trying to pull a fast one on the Venango County Court of Common Pleas. Of course, if he wasn’t, we then skid into the space of professional incompetence. But the latter seems unlikely, given the number of law firm associates Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow pulled into the case. Surely between the bunch of them the attorneys at RJO can read the PA rules of civil procedure and figure out that discovery isn’t permitted. Or read the local rules to learn that your proposed final order must be attached to each and every motion. Not just some. Not just the ones you think are important. Not just the ones that are substantive. All of them, RJO rocket scientists; courts hate when you ask them to do your work for them. Practice hint for foreign attorneys: Pennsylvania courts get really irritable when you don’t bother to read the rules, or you read them and ignore them. Big surprise there.
On the practical level, it would further seem that exploring the possibility of a defamation claim would take relatively little time. Virginia has expanded its rather limited anti-SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) statute to make it very difficult to sue those who write about matters of public interest—like whether a church or its clergy act in an ethically appropriate manner. In such cases, the burden of proof is quite high, and the downside to litigation is that, like here, all the behind-the-scenes ugliness, like the multiple disparaging and sneaky emails between Episcopal clergy regarding this conflict, comes to the fore. Or you wind up exploring topics like the years and years of dysfunction in church offices, and Bob Malm’s reasons for ignoring that dysfunction. Not to mention the speculation, which I have heard more than once from prominent parishioners, that previous church staff “had something” on Bob Malm, thus leading to his reluctance to address this situation. Having parishioners on the witness stand is not a pretty thing, and it’s a sure-fire way to see your church get much smaller in a hurry. Professional hint for clergy: Churchgoers really hate conflict. Put them on the stand and watch them head for the door.
At its most basic, you’d think that between Holland and Knight, the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the illustrious attorneys at RJO, and Bob Malm’s more than 40 years as a priest, one of the bunch would have figured out a long time ago that the church’s handling of this matter has been a debacle, beginning to end. Or would have urged Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow to show a little common sense. Or follow the rules of civil procedure—it’s not just for pro se litigants, any more.
If the DC Bar suspends Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow’s license to practice law, which is one possible outcome when an attorney files untruthful pleadings, it will be interesting to see if Jeff actually takes a deep breath, slows down, and does some introspection about his personal and professional ethics, as well as his judgment in taking a case for which he is neither qualified, nor appropriately dispassionate. Not to mention if I were a fellow RJO shareholder, I’d have some serious reservations about Jeff’s use of firm resources and the case’s implications for the law firm’s reputation and goodwill.
Somehow, I doubt we will see Jeff display any introspection. Arrogance and stupidity appear hardwired into the equation, and seem, in Jeff’s case, to quickly trump any sense of Christian ethics.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
- In the first highlighted section, Jeff may be attempting to mislead the court. Specifically, by omitting the content before and after the quote he allegedly pulled from Mom’s blog, he appears to change the meaning. Per the disciplinary rules, full disclosure of such issues is incumbent upon attorneys, who serve as officers of the court. In other words, one cannot omit material from one’s pleadings so as to mislead the court.
- In the second highlighted section, we again see Jeff resort to inflammatory language in what I believe is an effort to conceal the fact that he has no underlying case. Again, as Mr. Chiow well knows, nothing on my blog, nor anything on Mom’s blog, is in any way “terrorizing” or “harassing.”
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Friday, August 10, 2018
For example, the vast majority of end-stage COPD patients suffer from anxiety and depression, with 66 percent experiencing panic attacks. These symptoms appear to correlate both with physical issues, including dyspnea (shortness of breath), erratic sleep patterns, and with several specific sources of anxiety. The latter include awareness of death, fear of suffocation, separation anxiety, and fear of suffering. Regrettably, medical literature suggests that treating physicians frequently fail to adequately treat these issues, with some regarding depression in particular as part of the grieving process associated with knowledge of impending death.
Notably, perceptions of dyspnea both cause anxiety and depression, and emanate from dyspnea. Thus, a vicious cycle may come into play that further interferes with the ability to perform daily life functions.
So, in situations such as this, efforts to (to use Jeff Chiow’s language) “compel” a terminally ill patient to participate in civil litigation are not something to be taken lightly. And with Bob Malm, Jeff Chiow, Bishop Shannon Johnston and Bishop Susan Goff all aware that mom is suffering from end-stage COPD, you’d think that one of the bunch would consider the ethical and moral implications, wouldn’t you?
Of course, you’d be wrong. After all, this is St. Dysfunction Episcopal Church aka Grace Episcopal Church, where such things aren’t even a factor. They aren’t a factor for Dysfunctional Bob. They aren’t a factor for Jeff Chiow.
Nor are they a factor for The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Lots of lip service and bragging about social justice, marching in Charlottesville and other hoo-ha, but when the rubber meets the road there is absolutely zero substance.
For those interested in learning more about the psychological and emotional suffering experienced by end-stage COPD patients, a good starting point can be found here.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
- Jeff Chiow claims to have been unaware that Mom has end-stage COPD. That’s a curious claim, as 1) It’s discussed on Mom’s website and in various posts on my website. 2) He and Bob Malm are known to have discussed the topic on multiple occasions, going back to at least February 2018. Thus, Jeff’s memory appears to be spotty, at best.
- Jeff Chiow also has complained of lack of notice. However, there is no evidence he notified Mom’s attorney, Hank Gent, of the impending subpoena. At a minimum, most would consider this to be professional courtesy. Having apparently failed to do so, it is disingenuous in the extreme for Jeff to now claim that HE lacked notice apropos the response of Mom’s litigation attorney. Thus, it is ironic that Jeff now both complains about the results of his own actions, and is forced to engage in speculation as to when Mom received notice. Of course, if I am wrong, Jeff no doubt will have a copy of the certified letter or other documentation by which he notified Mom’s attorney.
- Jeff Chiow appears to be painfully, even excruciatingly, unaware of the relevant rules of civil procedure. (Note to self: Never hire a contracts attorney to do trial work!)
Rule 4.1 Truthfulness In Statements To Others
Hey, why not? It’s just his personal and professional integrity. What’s wrong with that?
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
As you can see, Bob Malm’s conduct falls squarely in the former category. Indeed, to this day he continues to try to bully me via the court system; never once has he personally taken steps to resolve this issue, instead requiring the intervention of diocesan officials to make any effort in this space. Indeed, it’s interesting that Bob loves to portray himself as the decisionmaker in day-to-day life; he can even override the vestry, despite the fact that, under the canons, he is elected by, and reports to, the vestry. Yet in this conflict, Bob deliberately ignores that fact that he is responsible at all times for maintaining appropriate boundaries—a truth that is reflected in the recent church legislation to outlaw retaliation in Title IV cases. And Bob repeatedly mischaracterizes past conversations and events, even going so far as to falsely tell people that I resigned my membership in the parish in 2015–a flagrant falsehood, if there ever was one.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Today’s installment is former assistant rector Leslie Steffensen’s responses about me when a background check was conducted in conjunction with a promotion I received at a retail job. As is often the case, the background check included time that I essentially took off from work in order to deal with issues at Grace following Bob’s accident in February 2014.
Check out Leslie’s intimations about “suspicious activities,” and the comments about being emotionally involved in crisis. This from someone who was visibly emotional on several occasions following Bob’s accident. Who said no good deed in church goes unpunished?
I’ll also soon release an email from Kirk Steffensen that further speaks to the Christian values of members of the church.
One of those quirks was that any time she passed gas, she would turn around, look indignantly at her backside, and pretend like she had no idea what was going on back there. Of course, she didn’t fool anyone, but she felt she had to go through the motions.
And so it is with Bob Malm. His stream of innuendo centered on my mental health, as well as his overt, written claims that I am mentally ill, are both defamatory and painfully obvious. As such, they are an abusive use of the authority entrusted to him as clergy.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
The break in fellowship within The Episcopal Church that occurred in 2012 must certainly grieve the heart of God. Ever since the break, reconciliation has been our constant prayer. We of The Episcopal Church want to be able to explore every possibility for making reconciliation a reality.
We have no desire for any member of a congregation to leave his or her church building. Our aim is restoration and unity. We want to work together in mutual respect for the benefit of all, so that we can continue to be about the Good News of Jesus.That contrasts sharply with Bob’s false police reports and his efforts to force a dying woman, my mother, to testify on his behalf. You’d think that, having lost his own mother (sorry Bob, not a proper noun. It’s lower-case.) only a little over three years ago, he’d have some respect for the dying.
My opinion: Bob Malm is a priest in name only. And like Jesus’ description of the Scribes and Pharisees, Grace is pretty on the outside. But inside it’s rotten and full of decay—like Bob M<alm’s conduct.
Monday, June 25, 2018
While I was out protesting today, a woman pulled up, insisting that we needed to talk. Initially, I ignored her, as I was surrounded by bustling traffic.
Eventually, we did strike up a conversation, during which she asserted that, while a member of the church, Bob sexually harassed her.
The conversation was somewhat disjointed, and by her own statement, the woman in question suffers from mental illness. As a result, I am not convinced that her depiction of events is accurate. That said, she was able to provide names, dates and places.
Overall, I would say her allegations are not convincing. But they raise troubling possibilities, and the one thing that is very clear is that the diocese is incapable of evaluating allegations of this sort in a fair and impartial manner.
Based on her story, it also appears that she did at one point receive pastoral care via the parish, but has since fallen through the cracks. Perhaps that is the real story in all of this, which is a lack of follow-up by the parish.
To be clear, these are unsubstantiated allegations. Nothing has been proven in a court of law, and there are reasons to doubt the accuracy of the story. But the lack of a meaningful mechanism with the diocese to investigate concerns such as this means that this is a loose end that will never be resolved.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Friday, June 15, 2018
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Trauma disrupts life, dissolves relationships & hinders faith development wherever it is experienced. As an expression of the Gospel, missional Christians follow Jesus into the world to care for the least of these suffering the effects of trauma.Newsflash: Caring for people does not involve accusing them of mental illness, filing bogus restraining orders against them, smear campaigns to their friends, or Jeff Chiow’s actions, which I will document here and elsewhere in October.
And yes, people in my family are traumatized by Bob Malm’s actions. And no, they will not be returning to the Christian faith. They’ve seen too many hypocrites unquestioningly defend Bob’s actions, with no understanding of the events that actually transpired.
Stephen, thank you for this post. I emailed you a while back about some things I’ve realized about my church culture – white US evangelical, in general; Southern Baptist, in particular. Thank you for your gracious reply. Today, I found my way back to your blog by googling “shunning.” Belatedly, I’ve realized that’s what I’ve experienced – profoundly and pervasively – since I began seeing and speaking out about ways we in this part of Christianity have been missing and misrepresenting Christ. Apparently, shunning is an almost universal response to whistleblowers and prophets. But that in no way justifies its being such a common (and profoundly denied) practice in the church. It hurts like hell, because it IS a form of murder, a seeking to murder personhood.Nice going, Bob—right in there with the Southern Baptists as you babble on about Christ’s love while thinking that shunning is okay.
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
As he put it, “Throw my records in the shredder.”
Nice move Bob. Of this I am sure: God does not look favorably on clergy whose conduct results in those entrusted to their care renouncing their faith.