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Former bishop Heather Cook sentenced to 7 years

Former bishop Heather Cook sentenced to 7 years

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for killing a cyclist in a drunken crash days after Christmas.

Cook, 59, pleaded guilty last month to automobile manslaughter in the death of 41-year-old Thomas Palermo, a married father of two young children. She was taken into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing Wednesday.


Here’s what Cook said in court:


News video here.


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Br. Gregory Shy, CoS

I am going to apologize first, as I suspect that whatever I say will offend someone. A couple of thoughts:

1. The denial in persons with substance abuse is real and a part of the disease. Denial means really not realizing and believing that you have a problem. It is not just “lying to get out of it.” Asking persons for a history of problems and then referring for evaluation might or might not be effective.

Secondly, in a larger sense, persons are often these days talking about “getting justice” usually meaning that their own sense of how severely a person is punished is the measure of “justice being served.” In our legal system, we often now let the “injured parties” participate in sentencing process. This is not typically compensatory to the “Victim” but punitive towards the convicted person. Seeing someone “get what’s coming to them” may be satisfying to some degree if one is harmed and hurting. Is it, however, the attitude that we should _encourage_ as Christian persons? Should we be thinking about “seventy times seven” at least on some occasions? I am here NOT talking about how the family of the victim here should feel, but as a matter of church teaching. I am not talking about compensation for loss but about punitive measures towards the convicted.

Again, sorry, I am sure that this will have offended someone.

Ann Fontaine

Countries with less punitive and more restorative justice systems have less recidivism and better outcomes.

Eric Bonetti

As someone who lost multiple family members to a drunk driver in a single accident (the driver suffered no meaningful consequences), I am disappointed at the lenient sentence.

Going forward, my hope is that we will review our vetting process for clergy. While TEC is not responsible for Heather’s actions, we remain caught up in our see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil paradigm. And we need effective internal controls such that misconduct can be addressed promptly and without retribution. Far too many clergy are able to act without what I only half-kiddingly refer to as “adult supervision.”

Pete Haynsworth

Who is David Allen? … The auhor of 5 comments on this thread and an official post-er to Episcopal Cafe.

There’s a SSJE brother by that name who posts sermons on the SSJE web site, but it can’t be he!

What does it take to be an Episcopal Cafe post-er?

David Allen

I am a long time participant here at The Lead and on other Anglican websites. And I was invited earlier this year to be a volunteer editor by the Episcopal Cafe’s editor-in-chief, the Revd Jon White. I am responsible for the stories that are published on The Lead on Saturdays. I also help monitor the comments on The Lead and The Lead’s Facebook page.

And no, this is not me. I believe that I am much younger than he is. And I’m from Mexico, I’m a bit more brown that he is!

JC Fisher

The Sheep and the Goats [Matthew 25]

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. … 36 … I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you … 39 …in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 – 46

The Reverend Ally Perry

the best comment that I read about this entire ordeal is the comment someone wrote about being shocked that this (someone being killed by a drunken clergyperson) has not happened sooner. The amount of alcohol abuse in the Episcopal Church among clergy and leadership in general has always been apparent to anyone with the eyes to see. I would like there to be a declaration of the House of Bishops that all Bishops will promise to remain alcohol free during General Convention and all HOB gatherings and that lay delegates will be offered the opportunity to do so as well. That would be responsible leadership.

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