Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

News: Looking Beyond Two Years


With the two-year anniversary coming up soon of perjuring priest Bob Malm’s bogus protective order, the question arises: What comes next? The answer is more protests, more lawsuits, and more leafletting. In short, I am far from done, and as long as clergy perjury parish Grace Episcopal and the diocese continue to not only turn a blind eye to Bob’s abusive behavior, but endorse it, I will continue to call them out on it.

Indeed, even as horrific as abuse in the Catholic Church is, it has the common sense to investigate allegations against clergy, and to not name buildings after abusers. But the Episcopal church does not care about abuse as long as it doesn’t result in criminal charges, and even named the Malm Narthex (aka Perjury Place) after Bob Malm, despite being fully aware of the latter’ s abusive conduct.

Remind me again why Bob forced Mike out of the church?

I’ll wait.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Out of Town and #Metoo

Well, it’s another road trip for the long weekend, off to sign some paperwork. More to come on that.

Meanwhile, lots of interesting conversations with the Diocese of Virginia, including one in which the church basically told me that it has no problem with clergy retaliating against someone if they complain to the diocese.

It’s conversations like that that show just how clueless The Episcopal Church really is. It carries on about #metoo and its desire to be a safe church for all persons, while at the same time adhering to a standard that hasn’t been seen in publicly traded companies in many years.

Of course, that raises the question: If The Episcopal Church is 20+ years behind the times, is there a future for it?

I doubt it. Any organization, church or otherwise, with such a low ethical bar isn’t worth the time of day.

On an unrelated note, earlier this morning the blog broke 60,000 hits. That’s chump change compared to social media results so far, but still a cool milestone. 

100,000 hits, here we come!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

60,000 Hits, Here We Come!


Although my blog is the smallest part of my social media efforts, I’m pleased to report that the blog is getting ready to reach the 60,000 hit mark. That’s small potatoes compared to my Twitter and Instagram presence; Twitter alone has has scored more than 1 million hits.

The part that Bob Malm and Grace Episcopal Church doesn’t get, though, is that few people my age and older are on Twitter. Instead, it’s 20- and 30-somethings, many of whom are very resistant to organized faith to begin with. Indeed, one Pew survey revealed that 1/3 of 20-somethings are indifferent to organized religion, while another 1/3 actively oppose it. Thus, given that the church has almost no meaningful presence on Twitter, and none at all on Instagram, it’s a safe bet that going forward local young people are going to steer clear of the parish. This is exacerbated by the fact that the church has very few twenty-something members outside those who have grown up in the church. Nor is Bob’s conduct likely to help matters much—this demographic reports that one of their big turn-offs is hypocrisy. 

That’s right. Bullying, shunning, and lying, both by Bob and by members of the parish, is a major non-starter for young people. Take note, Bob Malm, Jeff Chiow, Alison Campbell, Lisa Medley, and Jan Spence. You’re killing a church you claim to love.

Or, put in other words, unless things change drastically, it’s a safe bet that Grace Church will be shuttered within 20 years, and probably much, much sooner. Dysfunctional Bob and those who follow his example surely have done a number on the parish.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Looking to be a Good Day on the Blog

Yesterday was a little slow, but the blog is going gangbusters today, telling the bad news of Dysfunctional Bob Malm and Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow.

Check it out.




Sunday, August 26, 2018

See for Yourself: Leslie Steffensen’s Irrational Email About Me

One thing about clergy at Grace Church: They have very few qualms about making statements of questionable veracity when it comes to their parishioners.

In the attached email, Leslie Steffensen makes a series of false statements, including:
  • That Mom’s blog is mine (and content in it), despite the facts that:
    • Mom had repeatedly made clear that she is the publisher of her blog.
    • I don’t have children and have never claimed to have children; nor do I want any.
    • I am not female.
    • I don’t drive a minivan.
    • I don’t have pets.
    • I don’t travel to Northern VA from the Midwest.
    • I haven’t been to Manhattan in many years.
    • I don’t refer to myself in the plural.
    • I don’t hang out in Del Ray, except to leaflet or protest.
    • I don’t hang with other family members when they protest or afterwards and have never claimed to do so.
    • The day folks were at The National Cathedral was a day I was at work the entire day, and I have time records and numerous other forms of documentation to prove it, including dozens of witnesses, several of whom have prepared notarized affidavits.
    • I have not been to The National Cathedral in more than seven years; it was shortly before the earthquake. Thus, I have been nowhere near her office, and frankly don’t care to be anywhere close to anything with the word “Episcopal” in it anyway. Nor do I want to be anywhere close to Bob Malm or Leslie Steffensen; if I choose to hang out with clergy, it will be with those who evince some indication that they adhere to Christian values.
    • Nowhere in my blog, or in Mom’s blog, does anyone mention adopted children. Nowhere. 
    • I have witnesses and documentation to prove all these points.
  • That I have made false statements about her. My only comments have been about her comments made during my background check; I have published the transcript here  and that clearly indicates that Leslie has stated that she is “not sure [I] can be trusted with money,” along with other statements intended to damage my reputation. Additionally, I have commented on the well-documented fact that Leslie was fully supportive of Dysfunctional Bob’s efforts to shun us, including denying us access to our own church. The email confirming that also has been published here; a copy is below.

  • That the events in question were, at the time of her email, three years prior. They were not. They dated to 2015, including the latter months of the year and, of course, continue to this day.
It’s these sorts of sneaky, ad hominem attacks behind the scenes and untruthful/inaccurate statements that are how clergy at St. Dysfunction respond when criticized. Never mind that Leslie has never had the integrity to address her concerns directly with me. At a minimum, you’d think, as clergy, Leslie would make damned sure of her facts before writing a stupid and un-Christian email like this. (While Leslie’s talking with her legal counsel, she should be sure to discuss defamation and the phrase “reckless disregard for the truth.” Also, “false statements of fact.”)

But then, given that Leslie once told me (and later repeated her claim in front of others), that she has seen an apparition in the hallway outside the clergy  offices at St. Dysfunction, Kirk Steffensen’s comments about “spewing delusional crap” may strike rather closer to home than he intended. Or perhaps the word “hallucinations” applies. Or maybe this is a case of paranoid schizophrenia. I don’t have any way to know, but I am increasingly concerned for my safety, given Kirk Steffensen’s comments about Mike’s employment, the irrational nature of Leslie’s comments, and her statements about seeing apparitions of the dead. In fact, sounds like an implied threat to me.

The fact that behavior like this is acceptable for clergy in The Episcopal Church speaks volumes as to why The Episcopal Church and St. Dysfunction are dying. Nor are these behaviors all that unusual in churches—they are exactly how abusive Catholic priests respond when someone reports them. Smear the victim, try to discredit the victim, everything except for the sort of accountability that Jesus modeled. Even when Leslie wrote to my Mom to ostensibly apologize for her conduct, she couched things in terms of her “inexpert response” as a new priest. My take, though, is that when it comes to manipulative behavior and refusing to be accountable for her actions, Leslie’s far from inexpert. Indeed, she’s quite adept, and appears to have issues with deep-seated but well-concealed anger. (Just ask her to tell you about her numerous fistfights in high school.)






Women and Control: Clueless Bob Strikes Again

One of the amusing and simultaneously appalling things about this dispute is Bob Malm’s insistence that I either am the blogger behind Mom’s blog, or that I can/should be able to control what Mom blogs.

Apropos the former, with five family members in Northern VA besides me and Mike, Mom is very much aware of what goes on. And I have no need of her blog; with more than 200 hits a day coming into my blog, social media coverage now in the millions of hits, and almost 600 followers on Twitter alone, I can hold my own just fine.

Apropos the latter contention, why would anyone think I can control what Mom says or does? Just as Dysfunctional Bob undoubtedly would say he can’t control the actions of his fellow vestry members, I have no control over Mom, who has her own bone to pick with Bob.

Maybe Dysfunctional Bob and Jeff  “Sugarland” Chiow feel that because Mom is a woman, she takes orders from men. If that’s the case, I hate to spring it on them, but that sort of patriarchal world view don’t exist in my family.

All of which is a long way of saying those two are clueless.

BTW, here is a brief message from a month or so ago in which Mom expresses her views of Dysfunctional Bob:






Saturday, August 11, 2018

Further Questions About Jeff Chiow’s Potential Ethics Issues

In an earlier post, I shared one attorney’s thoughts regarding Jeff Chiow’s conduct in this matter. Specifically, an attorney familiar with the case stated his opinion that Jeff is pursuing a personal vendetta. That raises the question: Are there larger ethics issues involved for Jeff Chiow and his representation of St. Dysfunction, aka Grace Episcopal Church and Dysfunctional Bob Malm? I believe the answer is yes.

Under the ABA model rules of professional responsibilities, which serve as the basis for the state rules of professional responsibility that regulate attorney conduct, there are several provisions that may apply.

Pursuant to rule 4.1, for example, there is an obligation to be truthful in statements to others. In relevant part, it provides:
In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:
(a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person;
That is difficult to reconcile with the language of several documents prepared by Jeff, including one that references a purported church shooting in a nonexistent town in Texas, or his claims that he was unaware that my mother is quite ill, or his statements that I left the church on my own after resigning from the vestry. (If the latter is true, why then did Bob Malm need to send an email directing me to obtain a letter of transfer? And why include Mike in that email? My belief: Jeff is either incredibly dumb, or he’s dishonest, or both.)

Similarly, having practiced law for a number of years, we must assume that Jeff understands basic legal concepts and terminology. In that context, Jeff repeatedly contends that somehow blogging about someone is harassment. That’s another curious proposition, since 1) Under Virginia law, harassment requires direct contact with the victim, either in person, or by phone, text, or email. 2) Jeff presumably understands that, under the First Amendment, bloggers receive the same constitutional protections as other journalists. Think about it: Were repeated blogging about a particular topic grounds for harassment, major media outlets, like Time and CNN, would have been convicted long ago of harassing Donald Trump (an outcome of which the latter would no doubt approve — but I digress).

One can then turn to his assertions that Mom’s collective pseudonyms are somehow a threat. But threat jurisprudence is well established; to not be protected under the First Amendment, language must be a clear threat. That’s a very high standard, and court cases are replete with situations in which the courts have protected even facially troubling language.

Relatedly, Jeff tries to run roughshod over the First Amendment right to anonymity by repeatedly suggesting that there is something nefarious about Mom’s use of a collective pseudonym. But anonymity and pseudonymity are well-established rights, dating back to the framers of the Constitution and including the Federalist Papers, Deep Throat, and many other high water marks in our constitutional scheme of governance. As an attorney, Jeff either knows this, or should know it. (If not, we then enter into the realm of professional incompetence, which would mean that Jeff has an ethics issue, but from another angle.)

One then bumps into the issues, previously discussed, with Jeff’s use of inflammatory language in his legal writing, referring to “ranting and raving,” “domestic terrorism,” “ceaseless harassment” and more. Such conduct is, I believe, highly inappropriate for an officer of the court, and undermines respect for our legal system. This is reflected in Rule 8.4(d), which forbids conduct “prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Underpinning all of this is a baseline issue, which is Jeff’s obligation to only pursue meritorious claims. In this regard, Rule 3.1 provides: 
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.
Having already discussed the various problems with Jeff’s case, Rule 3.1 suggests that Jeff is, at best, on thin ice. This view is bolstered by the comments of the third party attorney, who stated the belief that Jeff is “coming at [me] with a personal vendetta.” That speaks to motive and judgment, and in both, Jeff’s actions and conduct are questionable.

Of course, as an avid reader of my blog, Jeff at this point has had ample opportunity to consider his position and his professional ethics, as well as his personal ethics as a purported Christian. He’s also had plenty of time to consider the implications of his actions for his clients and the reputational damage he is causing. So at this point, we can only wait and see. But my opinion is this: At this juncture, there is no outcome in which Jeff’s clients are better off than they were before Bob Malm’s stupid — and unethical — decision to revive our dispute.

To use two words Bob Malm (a paragon of appropriate clergy conduct, if there ever was one) likes to use in reference to me: 

Sad.
Dysfunctional.





Friday, July 27, 2018

Update: Depositions Set for Late August

It’s fair to say that Bob Malm’s vendetta — and his waste of time, money, and other church resources — continues unabated at a time when St. Dysfunction Grace Episcopal Church is stretched perilously thin, financially and in every other way.

My attorney will be taking Bob Malm’s deposition on Thursday, August 30, as we seek to move past Bob’s disingenuous efforts at avoiding a full accounting for his actions. That’s telling: Shouldn’t clergy model transparency and accountability? But that has never been Bob’s modus operandi. 

Instead, Bob’s approach is all about appearances, and getting what he can for himself. And if you write about Bob’s antics, he’ll carry on about “attacks on the Internet,” never once considering that, if he were actually doing his job, there just wouldn’t be anything to write about. Moreover, he’s lost sight of one important truth in all of this: Even if he prevails with his protective order, which was obtained based on his various distortions and misrepresentations, I certainly will not stop writing.

Moreover, both Bob and his attorney, Jeff Chiow, deliberately overlook a key point, which is that courts have held that bloggers are considered jounalists for purposes of the First Amendment. Someone can write about their experiences as much as they want, and it simply is not “harassment,” as falsely claimed by Jeff Chiow. Harassment only comes into play when there is direct communication between the parties — as in Leslie Malm’s repeated efforts to communicate with me via email, even after I told Jeff I wanted no further contact from Bob or any member of his family.

Bob will be taking my deposition the following day, Friday, August 31. Look for additional detail on these issues at the appropriate time.

Meanwhile, I invite parishioners to ask how the time and money Bob and Jeff have spent on trying to bully me and Mike compare with the time and money they have spent on Carpenter’s Shelter, or Bob’s (non-existent) trips to Haiti, or the food pantry.

Bottom line, the more Bob and Jeff pursue this matter, the more they prove my point, which is that St. Dysfunction Grace Episcopal Church is both toxic, and seriously messed up in its priorities.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Email from Mom Disproving Bob Malm’s Bogus Claims

As Bob continues to falsely claim that Mom’s blog is mine and otherwise do his best to trash his own reputation and that of Grace Church, here is what Mom recently wrote about the matter. Note that I have redacted a few words in the seventh line, as I do not wish to lower myself to Bob’s level when it comes to discussing others.




Friday, March 2, 2018

Email from Mom

As Bob Malm goes around claiming that Mom’s blog is mine, that begs an obvious question: Having received email from Mom before, and knowing that she previously filed a complaint against him with the Diocese of Virginia relating to his misconduct, why would Bob not deal directly with her? Indeed, if he truly believes Mom’s blog is threatening (a laughable proposition, given that she suffers from end-stage emphysema), why would he not raise that question directly with her?

My belief is that Bob doesn’t choose to, simply because it’s easier for him to promulgate his false view of reality if he does not, in fact, allow reality to intrude. I mean, wouldn’t a sensible person deal directly with the person who has already been in communication with him? Wouldn’t that seem like a prudent thing to do before you start calling the police and others? Of course it would, and certainly not inappropriate for a member of the clergy. But then, in light of things like Bob’s oft-repeated claim in response to complaints about church office staff, “Don’t worry about it, they’ll be retiring this year,” there’s already ample reason to question Bob’s veracity. Note, too, that neither the diocese nor Bob has ever done anything to address Mom’s concerns, so why would either think that those concerns are now resolved?

Here’s a copy of Mom’s email, replete with the VIP list of cc’s.







Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Benefits of Blogging

It's interesting to note that one of the things folks assume about this blog is that it's a "gotcha" effort. But the reality is far more complex.

One well-documented effect of shunning is feelings of despair and hopelessness. At the start of Bob Malm's campaign of shunning, I and my family did, indeed, suffer this feeling of utter isolation. But by blogging, I took control of the situation, and moved past Bob's efforts to cause suffering and distress.

Today, Bob Malm hopes to shut down my blog, arguing that I am "hurting [his] ministry." But if Bob's ministry is one that must cause suffering in order to succeed, then I am happy to be the one to bring trouble to his "ministry,"

Moreover, only one person is responsible for Bob Malm's actions, and the suffering they cause to other people. That person is Bob Malm, Episcopal priest, shunner, coward, and bully. Bob may dress like a priest, talk like a priest, and celebrate Mass like a priest, but at the end of the day, Bob is not a priest. 

He's nothing but a super-annuated prep school bully.

Meanwhile, I am going to do whatever I need to recover and regroup from Bob's bullying, and to make sure others aren't sucked in by his lies, games, and manipulative power plays.