PHILADELPHIA: TAC Bishop Moyer Serves Subpoena on Friends and Enemies
Subpoena will be served on Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Dr. David Virtue, Mary Kohart, Albert Scharbach, and others
By David W. Virtue
March 21, 2012
The deposed former priest of the Episcopal Anglo-Catholic parish of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, PA, David L. Moyer has given notice that he will serve a subpoena on former friends and enemies including one to "Jerry Steenson", the new Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church for documents relating to a lawsuit brought by his former attorney, John H. Lewis Jr., for fraud and defamation.
The proposed subpoenas, which contain seven pages of instructions, definitions and document requests, bear no obvious relationship to the question of whether Moyer defamed Lewis or filed a frivolous lawsuit against him several years ago. For example, it boggles the mind to think that "Jerry Steenson" might have documents," an individual who resided and worked outside Pennsylvania for most of the last ten years, to see if they bear on whether Lewis was defamed by Moyer or whether Moyer filed a frivolous lawsuit against him.
Indeed, and ironically, in a suit where Moyer has been accused of defaming someone, the reference to "Jerry" (his name is Jeffrey) seems to be designed to denigrate and insult the former Episcopal Bishop of the Rio Grande who crossed the Tiber several years ago - a move that Moyer himself has sought, but did not obtain the required votum needed for him to join the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter because of serious impediments.
Moyer's plan to subpoena "Jerry Steenson" seems designed to harass and punish him as the messenger who delivered to Moyer news that Moyer would not receive the required votum from Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Now Moyer cannot proceed with training he needs for the Catholic priesthood. Perhaps Moyer's next subpoena will be delivered to Rome itself.
Moyer sued his former friend and attorney and Lewis's law firm (Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads) for malpractice following his two failed lawsuits against Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison. The day after Lewis and his lawyers demanded that Moyer appear and give testimony under oath in the case, Moyer withdrew the malpractice suit. Moyer's decision to withdraw his lawsuit, rather then permit Lewis to defend himself in a public courtroom and before Moyer could be interrogated under oath, was a bitter blow to Lewis who, according to a lawyer's online organization is described as a Philadelphia "super lawyer".
The shabby nature of Moyer's behavior towards his former parishioner and attorney was made even harsher when Moyer and his Vestry issued a "statement" explaining the withdrawal with new allegations about Lewis attacking his reputation and competence. The Moyer lawsuit and the "withdrawal statement" caused considerable harm to Lewis whose 40-year unblemished reputation in the legal world had never before been challenged. It was doubly damaging to his law firm, which had to pay out huge legal fees before the case was dismissed.
E-mails raged across the Internet. Most were very critical of Moyer's lawsuit against his former friend and attorney.
A long time friend wrote Moyer saying, "I'm not a litigator, David, but in my career as general counsel of three significant corporations, I've managed many hundreds of millions of dollars (when that was serious money) worth of litigation. I met and worked with John Lewis over decades and we became close friends. He was the best of the best and that has not changed. It's easy for me to spot frivolous complaints, and having read all of the essential pleadings in your case, frivolous is spelled in capital letters. This case is going to bite you and the longer you continue it the worse it will be for you."
Moyer also hopes to serve subpoenas to Mary Kohart, Attorney to the Diocese of Pennsylvania and its current Chancellor, Raymond Kraftson, and Albert Scharbach former Priest Associate at Church of the Good Shepherd, when he worked for Moyer. He later crossed the Tiber and is now Pastoral Associate to Bishop Denis J. Madden at the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Also included are Bud Ahrens, former Rector's Warden at Good Shepherd when Moyer first came to the parish and, of course, this reporter. In fact, the subpoena planned for me seeks each and every document I might have relating to Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson.
Some questions come to mind. Why is Moyer trying to uncover information about Steenson? Is he so aggrieved at being rejected by Steenson for the Ordinariate that he intends to launch an investigation into Steenson - an investigation that plainly has no relationship to Lewis's lawsuit?
At another level, is the planned subpoena to me nothing more then an effort to chill VOL's news gathering efforts in connection with a topic of tremendous interest to our readers? Shame on you, Moyer.
VOL will not be bullied into silence and we will not cease our efforts in uncovering the truth about what happened at the Church of the Good Shepherd, the $1.5 million spent on legal fees, and other matters including property issues.
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