Massachusetts Pleadings Request Criminal Charges Against Episcopal Priest Robert Malm
Aug 6, 2021
Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 6, 2021 – In pleadings filed today with the Wareham Massachusetts, plaintiff Eric Bonetti asked the court to dismiss defendant’s objections to his lawsuit. The defendant, Robert Hiller Malm, is an Episcopal priest canonically resident in the Diocese of Virginia, and presently serves as interim rector of St. Peter’s on the Canal, in Bourne Massachusetts.
The suit had its genesis in Malm’s efforts to obtain a protective order against plaintiff Eric Bonetti. In response, Bonetti denied the allegations, and filed a civil complaint alleging that Malm committed perjury, engaged in abuse of process, and defamed Bonetti by publicly telling others that Bonetti had engaged in criminal activity, including threatening Malm.
The current pleadings were filed in response to Malm’s motion to dismiss under the state’s anti-SLAPP motion, Malm’s attorney also alleged that Malm’s comments do not constitute defamation.
Bonetti’s response asks the court to dismiss Malm’s motions and asks for criminal and civil penalties against Malm for his perjury and other litigation-related misconduct.
Both Episcopal Bishop Alan Gates and Bishop Susan Goff have said they will not get involved in the matter absent a criminal conviction.
“Far too often, people are reluctant to believe that a clergy person would lie. But it is my position that Malm has engaged in a pattern and practice of lying in order to try use the protective order system to silence critics,” said Bonetti.
The litigation comes at a difficult time for Malm’s former church, Grace Episcopal Alexandria, which has seen the resignation of all full-time staff except for the current rector, as well as plummeting giving and attendance.
A tentative date for the court to consider the motions is set for late August.
Bonetti is a former attorney, now retired, and is proceeding pro se in the matter.