Sven van Baars is the rector of Abingdon Episcopal Church in Virginia. He also serves as a delegate to General Convention, as part of a team working to stabilize diocesan revenues, and as a Title IV intake officer.
Sven aspires to great things, including having applied for a bishop position in Florida. Fortunately, he didn’t get it.
But the biggest issue with Sven is his role as an intake officer.
In my case, he handled my complaint about Bob Malm’s perjury, in which he falsely stated, under oath, in writing, while advised by church legal counsel, that my late mother, or someone purporting to be her, contacted him repeatedly, only to no-show.
In a situation like that, the role of the intake officer per the canons is merely to answer two questions:
1. Assuming the matter is true, would it be a violation of the canons?
2. If the matter would be a violation of the canons, is it material?
But Sven decided to play games. In his written decision, below, he claims that he cannot determine if an offense has occurred, because perjury is a state and federal crime, and no criminal charges have been filed.
Obviously, that’s problematic, and not just because Sven’s decision is outside the authority granted to him by the canons:
- Perjury is not generally a federal crime. Rather, it is only a crime if it’s made in the course of a federal court or other proceeding. So, Sven is blowing smoke out his backside on that issue.
- Perjury is a notoriously difficult crime to prosecute. So lack of criminal charges does not logically relate to whether Bob Malm is a perjurer.
- The no-crime, no-foul approach is unethical. So, assuming Sven is consistent in his logic, child sex abuse is okay as long as criminal charges don’t result.
- I’m prepared to bet that Susan Goff and the other fat cats at Mayo House simply told him to bag the case.
So, Sven van Baars lacks a backbone, and implicitly condones any form of criminal activity on the part of clergy as long as there are no criminal charges. Thus, he is unethical. And the fact that he serves as a delegate to GC shows how mendacious and morally bereft the Episcopal Church has become at every level.
Sven van Baars, Episcopal priest and trailer park trash.