Bishop Cook to be charged with manslaughter and DUI by Maryland state’s attorney

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Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook will be charged with manslaughter in the fatal crash that killed cyclist Thomas Palermo, Maryland’s new state’s attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced Friday morning.

The charges also include texting while driving and driving under the influence.

Baltimore Sun:

Cook will face charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident; driving under the influence and causing an accident due to texting while driving. Both the manslaughter and leaving the scene charge carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

A warrant will be issued for Cook’s arrest, prosecutors said.

The case is Mosby’s first high profile test after taking over the office this week, and the charges come after days of angst among supporters of the 41-year-old Palermo’s family, who questioned why Cook had not been more promptly arrested.

The collision happened Dec. 27 as Palermo was cycling through Roland Park. Church officials identified Cook as the driver of the car that struck Palermo. Cook left the scene in shock, but returned later, according to the church.

The Diocese knew that the investigation showed that Cooke’s blood alcohol level was .22, nearly three times the legal limit, and that the investigation showed that she had been texting, but honored a request by the State’s Attorney office to withhold certain details.

The church had released a detailed timeline of what they knew about the December crash that made no mention of Cook allegedly being drunk or text messaging.

Sharon J. Tillman, a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Church, said officials were aware Cook had been drinking before the accident and had been texting while driving, but police requested they withhold certain information.

“We were cooperating with police in their investigation throughout,” she said.

At a press conference, Mosby said Cook registered a .22 blood alcohol level after the crash. The legal limit in Maryland is .08.

Mosby alleged that Cook was texting, and that Palermo was in the bike lane when Cook’s vehicle veered into his lane and struck him.

As to the question of the length of the investigation, WBAL-TV reports:

Mosby said Friday that she met with Palermo’s family over the course of the investigation, which she said has been handled as any other case would be.

 

Posted by Andrew Gerns

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Ann Fontaine
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Ann Fontaine

Good reporting by Episcopal News Service and Mary Frances Schjonberg. Keeping a transparent church http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/01/09/maryland-bishop-suffragan-faces-numerous-charges-in-fatal-accident/

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Mr. Woodrum, a defense fund for Bishop Cook?

She won't get a penny from me.

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Richard Burris
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Richard Burris

It is not just the Diocese of Maryland that needs to look at its processes, nor just the Episcopal Church. Too often bodies delegate their responsibility to a committee and then fail to hold the committee accountable. This has resulted in many a bad election, call, appointment, etc. Ultimately the problem is us-not them. We are the only ones that can insist that the system be fixed, to the extent it can. We can only hope and pray that this is some of the good that can come from such a terrible tragedy.

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Henry Rector
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Henry Rector

I am at a loss to understand the diocesan search committee's decision to withhold information concerning Bishop Cook's 2010 arrest from the voting assembly that selected her. The details of this incident -- which was covered by local media at the time -- clearly indicate a state of extreme inebriation. She was driving on three wheels and had vomit on her clothing. The presence of illegal drugs in the car is another issue. How could this be deemed a one-time aberration and not evidence of a very serious ongoing substance abuse problem? While addiction compels a compassionate response, it should be considered very carefully in selection of church leaders.

What other impediments to suitability could be concealed from a voting assembly on the grounds of confidentiality, compassion, or forgiveness? Domestic violence? Chronic infidelity?

As the Diocese of Maryland struggles to cope with this senseless tragedy, which may well result in the incarceration of its Suffragan Bishop, it also needs to take a hard look at how it selects its leaders. A church that does not hold its leaders to the highest standards simply does not take itself seriously.

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Paul Woodrum
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How about some prayers, some compassion, and a defense fund for Bishop Cook? Despite what looks like the "facts," Burris is right; she is innocent until proven guilty and it is the job of our justice system, as well as our Christian faith, to assure no one is falsely accused, as too many have been, nor judged guilty until all the facts are weighed in a court of law and not that of public opinion. I wish I could say Title IV of the Canons is as cautious and transparent as the civil system of justice. It is not, but that's another issue, one I hope will be taken up at General Convention. It's ironic to feel like the devil's advocate for praying for mercy on everyone caught up in either system.

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Jackie O'Sullivan
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Jackie O'Sullivan

Dear all,

First, "innocent until proven guilty" remains the backbone of jurisprudence in this nation. The criminal, civil, and ecclesiastical remedies will be sorted over the next days and weeks, and will be strongly influenced by the decisions the accused will make regarding her plea and her orders.

Beyond this, we, as a nation and as a body of faith, would do well to consider our relationship to alcohol. Wine, ales, and spirits are goods of creation, but when improperly used or abused they cease to be goods, instead becoming potential tools of destruction.

I know all too intimately the havoc substance abuse and wreak on individuals, relationships, and communities. Those of us not in recovery must never succumb to the temptation to enable. Enabling is not kind, and often says more about the unhealthy needs of the enabler than expressing care for the abuser.

After reading Rev. William Doubleday's excellent reflection, I looked up the 1985 GC resolution on alcohol. It is a comprehensive, prophetic clarion call to attention, right action, and care, and I commend it to everyone for study and sharing.
http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_resolution.pl?resolution=1985-a083

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Len Freeman
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Len Freeman

Given the .22 alcohol level and deadly result of the current offense, and given that the nominating committee in Maryland: A) knew about her previous DUI at a similarly high level… not to mention the marijuana pipe… B) decided to nominate her anyway, and C) didn’t inform the diocesan convention voters about either A or B, — a modest proposal: that perhaps that nominating committee leadership should be considered for disciplinary action as well. It’s kind of the classic “who knew what, and when did they know it, and why didn’t they do something about it.”

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Jackie O'Sullivan
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Jackie O'Sullivan

The BAC might be a red herring. Bp. Cook had time to consume alcohol after she left the scene. This is not to say that she was not impaired at the time of the accident, but to point out that if this case goes to trial, her attorney will have good cause to challenge the BAC evidence.

Law is logical and fair in a very raw way, and it does not and cannot always satisfy our desires.

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Philip Snyder
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Philip Snyder

The other alternative is that she did not have anything to drink and blew .22 over 30 minutes after the accident. What, I wonder, was her BAC at the time of the accident? Given her history of pot possession, isn't it possible that she was also high and left the scene because one of the effects of pot smoking is paranoia?

I am very angry because this is yet another black spot on the Episcopal Church - the Church that I grew up in and that I love and that nurtured me and brought God's healing to me when I was sorely wounded. This will cause further decline in TEC and will cause many people to leave or to never come that would otherwise have come to join us.

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Jay Anthony
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Jay Anthony

BAC is not a red herring. Even if we give her a very conservative ten minutes (five minutes to get back to her apartment after the tragic event and five minutes to return) it would be IMPOSSIBLE to get to a .22 BAC in the remaining 20 - 40 minutes.

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Richard Burris
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Richard Burris

I am amazed at the knee-jerk reactions to this tragedy. We have a process in place to deal with tragedy, including criminal behavior. A principle of our justice system, secular and ecclesial, is that someone is innocent until proven guilty. Why do we so quickly forget that; unless, of course, it is for our own benefit. The Church needs to practice its baptismal covenant in this situation, as it should in all situations, with respect to both the victim and the alleged offender. We need to let the process of justice work, even with all of its flaws. It is still better than knee-jerk justice. Once the process has worked its way then we evaluate it to see if it needs changed/improved. It is a fair to question the election process. It is a very expensive and supposedly thorough process, yet we continue to elect people to leadership who fail us. Imagine that! Let's seek to improve it, knowing that as soon as we have, we will need to work on it again. At this point I trust that if what we have heard and read (reported by the prosecutor's whose job it is to find the guilty) is true, the Bishop will be duly disciplined by the state and the Church. May the Bishop know and find God's grace and may the Palermo family find that peace that only comes from the unbelievable love of Jesus Christ.

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Joseph Pinner
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Joseph Pinner

As to the process for the election of Bishops and the disappointing results which are seen in too many cases, I feel this is a confirmation of system theory:

“Every system is uniquely and perfectly designed to produce the results it is currently producing.” Peter Senge, MIT, Author of The Fifth Discipline

Given that we are frail and fallen human beings, we will never construct a 'perfect' process. But this having been said, we can never do better until we admit that what we are doing now is terribly flawed. Too many candidates are selected who do not have the character, spirituality maturity in Christ and gifts needed to be the overseers of the Church.

The men and women who allowed Bishop Cook to be a part of the processes for the election of the Suffragan of Maryland failed miserably. They failed the Church and they failed Bishop Cook. A person dealing with serious addiction should never have been placed in such a position of such stress and responsibility. She needed serious time in recovery to regain spiritual health. Three years was far too little, if it was indeed taking place (which seems possibly not true).

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Dave Paisley
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Dave Paisley

I think in this instance "innocent until proven guilty" hardly applies. The one cast iron certain fact is that she left the scene of an accident. Only slightly less cast iron is the blood alcohol level. Texting while driving will undoubtedly be verified by phone records.

There is no question she was the driver, it was her car and that she caused the death of a man by negligent driving and callously driving away afterwards.

The trial, whatever form it takes, will determine punishment, but she will either plead out (something I doubt the DA will do in the circumstances given her prior DUI and the very high profile nature of the crime and its impact to the community) or she will be found guilty and sentenced accordingly.

The horse named Innocence left the stable a couple of weeks ago, never to be seen again.

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Nick Porter
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Nick Porter

Richard, there are a lot of angry people, especially those in Maryland who voted for her unknowing of her not so distant past. To dismiss reactions to this as "knee-jerk" will not do anyone any favors. People were wondering why it took so long for charges to be filed. I am glad they took their time because I wanted them to get it right. Plus there was a turn over in the state attorney's office, she is brand new and was just sworn in. A lot of people did not know that. A lot of people are now wondering why won't she just resign and spare the church a trial. We can stop throwing out the words "allegedly" now. The facts are all on the table.

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Ed Weissman
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Ed Weissman

Bishop Cook should immediately resign as and resign from the priesthood. Driving drunk almost 3 times the legal level, texting, leaving the scene, acting as entitled, killing a man biking in a bike lane. She is true menace to society. Get her out of the church and into jail.

Why she was elected Suffragan I will never know.

Which does the world need more, a software engineer and father and husband or a drunken Bishop?

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John Farrell
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John Farrell

This whole situation has made me profoundly sad on a lot of levels. It also makes me angry, but more sad than anything now that the investigation is over, charges have been filed, and an arrest made. I'm sad Thomas Palermo is dead, his children fatherless, and his wife bereft. I believe all human life is of inestimable value, of course, but Tom was a man who made a real and unique contribution to the community, so his death is a terrible loss to many. I'm sad for the people who loved him and benefited from his gifts. I'm also sad that the Episcopal Church's reputation has been diminished by a thoughtless, cowardly, and irresponsible woman who apparently thought she was above the diagnosis of alcoholism. I received the same training in pastoral care as Heather Cook--that is, to do good always, not harm; to be present and calm in emergencies; to help others, not thinking of myself; and to comfort the afflicted, not to be the source of their afflictions. She violated all these basic tenets. I'm sad for the people who loved and believed in their bishop. I'm especially sad about those who are in denial about her failings and who are still defending her or deeming her "tragic" situation to be more important than Thomas Palermo's. I'm sad (but probably more angry) at the church authorities who willfully misunderstand the disease of addiction and gave her a free pass in 2010 when he was arrested for DUI and in 2013 when she was nominated for bishop, deeming the serious red flags as "mistakes" and "errors in judgment." Now a man is dead because of their derelicion. I am also sad that there will most likely be a backlash against clergy who are in recovery from addiction, making it difficult for them to serve or to be ordained. And yes, at some level, I'm sad for Heather Cook. The daughter of an recovered alcoholic priest and the veteran of a DUI, she knew the score about the perils of addiction better than most. But she arrogantly ignored her responsibility to seek recovery from addiction and now she is probably going to jail, will be deposed, and forever be disgraced. Her life has been changed inalterably, and I pray that she will somehow survive the consequences of her actions spiritually intact.

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George Nagle
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George Nagle

Thank you for this excellent comment.

Alcoholism is insidious and powerful in large part because it fosters denial. Just as HIV subverts the immune system, the very system designed to destroy it, so alcoholism causes the alcoholic and his/her family to overlook its existence until it has progressed far, and sometimes not even then.

One of the most difficult things I ever did was to go to Al Anon. Family denial is common and often strong. An alcoholic's wider family such as a parish or diocese can also be in denial

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Nick Porter
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Nick Porter

This needs to be echoed everywhere,Fr.John,thank you!!!!!

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Errol Montgomery-Robertson
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Errol Montgomery-Robertson

I am thankful for the manner in which the Diocese of Maryland has handled this situation thus far. There is evidence of pastoral care for all concerned, yet there has been no "sweeping it under the carpet." How the Church continues to handle this case demonstrates our commitment to justice and respect for the dignity of all persons.

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

"The best thing that Bishop Cook could do is to publicly confess, plead guilty, and say that she will accept whatever the state deems a just punishment."

Obviously I am praying for the Palermo family. This tragedy is a tragedy for them.

But could we please be a little more careful in offering gratuitous legal advice to Bishop Cook?

Members of the clergy did not give up, when they were ordained, their rights as citizens. Chief among the federal constitutional rights that we all share, as citizens, is the right to remain silent -- especially the right not to be required to say the words that convict ourselves.

Furthermore, the criminal-justice system assumes a certain level of adversariality--it assumes (and indeed guarantees) that the accused will have legal counsel and will be able to mount a defense (if there be one).

"[A]ccept whatever the state deems a just punishment?" Really? You think every prosecutor is "just," as between the State of Maryland and an accused? Where on earth did you get that idea? The prosecutor's client is the State.

This is one of those occasions when our aspirations for heavenly justice, and the realities of earthly legal systems, collide.

In the earthly State of Maryland, there is a process that leads up to any plea bargain. At the end of that process, Bishop Cook may someday plead guilty, and do so publicly. But it probably won't be quick.

There is no clerical exception to due process.

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Philip Snyder
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Philip Snyder

Jeremy - It has been my experience (with 20 years of prison ministry) that true repentance is best expressed in taking responsibility for your actions and confessing them and being willing to make restitution for wrongs done. How my make restitution to the family of the man she killed is impossible for me to say. However, I was not offering "legal" advice, but spiritual advice.

"I accept full responsibility for the wrong I have done, but I am going fight the state so I don't have to spend more time in prison or pay as much of a fine as possible" just doesn't strike me as true repentance. That strikes me more as boilerplate words designed to put this as far behind her as possible. Something as serious cannot be gone around and it cannot be dealt with through platitudes. It requires serious soul searching and surrender.

It is also my experience that people are more willing to forgive if you are so remorseful that you don't demand that they give back and that you are willing to accept the worst possible outcome from the crime you committed.

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Randall Stewart
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Randall Stewart

As an member of the Diocese who first learned of this tragedy from an associate of the victim, I can tell you that forgiveness is going to be very hard for us, and I hope she confesses and accepts her punishment as quickly as possible.

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Philip Snyder
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Philip Snyder

This is, indeed, a tragedy. I've known several alcoholics and know quite a number who are in recovery in prison. If there is one good thing about this case it is that Bishop Cook will probably have to spend some significant time in prison and will probably be directed to some from of AA while there. Ive been involved in prison ministry for almost 20 years and I know there are (or at least in Texas there are) some very good recovery programs offered through the Chaplain's department. I pray that Bishop Cook takes advantage of those. I know several men who are actually glad that they came to prison because prison was the 2x4 that God needed to get their attention. When you go to prison, you have very strong evidence that you are a sinner in need of salvation and a person in need of a Lord and Savior instead of many people's illusions that they are "OK" and just need a little help now and then.

The best thing that Bishop Cook could do is to publicly confess, plead guilty, and say that she will accept whatever the state deems a just punishment. She should also offer to resign her orders permanently instead of going through the entire Title IV mess.

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Tobias Haller
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Tragedy on tragedy. It is hard to imagine a worse situation. Drunk driving, and texting while driving are crimes whether or not there is an accident. That is where the irresponsibility begins. Leaving the scene of the accident is a very serious crime whether one is drunk or not, and with a blood alcohol level of .22 I'm inclined to accept the account that she didn't realize what had happened at first.

At this point I hope that if -- and the "if" is important -- if the charges are true she will show the self-awareness to withdraw from ministry and renounce her orders; thereby saving everyone -- including herself -- the expense and emotional distress of an ecclesiastical trial. The wisdom of the pastoral epistles remains sound: one who cannot govern one's own life is not fit to govern the life of the church.

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Christopher Epting
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Once again, Episcopal Cafe has proven itself to be the real "news service" of The Episcopal Church -- which has still not posted this new information on the ENS site. Thank you, for keeping us informed about this tragic situation.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

This terrible matter (alleged crime by Heather Cook) is under the jurisdiction of the legal system, where it belongs.

Now, the diocese can deal w/ any/all problems this incident has raised, apart from Cook's trial (and possible punishment).

Prayers.

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Nancy Lea
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I am terribly saddened by this whole situation, mostly for her victim, but, also for my church. WHERE WAS HER BISHOP'S CARE FOR HER PRIOR TO THIS? As I read the reports, she had been stopped before for DUI. WHY was she not supervised by her Bishop, sent for counseling and treatment before this? Better still, how did she get an appointment to that office? This worries me for our whole church. I have seen at least two people ordained whose mental issues I personally felt were extremely serious We need to have more oversight and caution as to who makes it to leadership within the Church. The whole situation is downright pitiful.

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Randall Stewart
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Randall Stewart

If you listen to the State's Attorney's news conference, the details of Cook's actions are even more horrific, returning 30 minutes afterward only to proceed to her apartment, at which point she was apparently followed.

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Deacon CHarlie Perrin
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Deacon CHarlie Perrin

I am the son of an alcoholic. I serve in a Diocese which in the past has had alcoholics in positions of power, surrounded by enablers. Yes, an alcoholic is fully responsible for his or her actions and does not even begin recovery without taking that responsibility for those actions and the resulting consequences. This, however, does not absolve those acted as enablers by either covering for the drunk, or excusing the actions of the drunk. One could say that those folks are equally responsible. They would best examine their consciences, make confession, and perform such penance that may be required of them

Deacon Charlie Perrin

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Gary Carter
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Gary Carter

Our church has a huge porblem with drinking alcohol, and it's unacknowledged or denied by so many. On the grounds of the Episcopal Seminary here in Alexandria (our largest seminary) there is a very popular bar, presumably supported in every way by the institution who gives it space and approved of by our bishop. A place to go and get drunk. On the grounds of a place that is supposed to train folks for the ministry. Its existence there is as shameful as it is unbelievable.

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Joie Weiher
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Joie Weiher

I have not been to that establishment but I understand it to be a pub and not a bar (pubs in England are not bars like here) and I know if regulars who only drink NA beverages. I'm as angry as I can be over this whole situation and the enabling that created it along with some serious cases of the misuse of alcohol in our church but I'm not aware that the pub at VTS is part of the problem... Unless it is.

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Dave paisley
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Dave paisley

Wow, just wow. I think this is beyond the most pessimistic expectations.

It seriously calls into question the notion that the 2010 DUI was "one mistake" as described by Bishop Sutton and the decision of Diocesan officials to suppress that information. Not to mention the subsequent lack of awareness of Diocesan staff working with her for the past several months.

It's also probably set back the acceptance of clergy in open and genuine recovery by a decade or more.

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James Wolfe
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James Wolfe

I can tell you as a recovering member of AA for over 20 years that the Bishop never recovered from her earlier DUI. Her level was again almost 3 times the legal limit. Only someone who is a constant drinker could even have opened the door to her car much less driven. This leads me to the real reason for my post. The people who worked with her and were around her had to have known about her problem. You can't hide that level of drinking from people. How many and who saw the problem and said nothing ? Fear of telling the truth ? Its time to circle the wagons with everyone saying they knew nothing. Shame on the church for being more concerned with image than truth.

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Brandon Filbert
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Brandon Filbert

Good comment. I have learned over the years that it doesn't take boys to make for an "old boys club"...it's a club open to everyone in power or involved in highly technical matters. I will be interested in how the diocese and National Church choose to deal with this over the coming months. I appreciate the importance of talking about forgiveness in some of the diocesan statements, but in sacramental confession for absolution to be given there must be real evidence of contrition. Such contrition will really be needed not only from the perpetrator, but from the Church, as well. And, in our day of putting much emphasis on justice, I think we have here an extremely clear opportunity to focus on justice in the most tangible way. Where the diocese and national leaders choose to put the emphasis will tell us much about the calibre of their leadership and their integrity.

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Joie Weiher
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Joie Weiher

I agree--or, break apart the circles wagons.

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Nancy Lea
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see my post with pretty much the same sentiments.

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Susan Gage
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This is a terrible tragedy on so many levels. And, for me, it has hit close to home as I have been feeling the pain of loss of a friend's family member also killed while cycling by a distracted driver. The hole that has left in that particular family has been enormous. I can only imagine the pain the Palermo's are also feeling and their justified questions about when someone was going to arrest Bishop Heather Cook. I trust in God to do the work that must be done with Bishop Heather in her struggles with addiction and the justice needed in this case. May God's love envelope the diocese as it heals, and the Palermo and Cook families as they mourn. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

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Michael Russell
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Michael Russell

Sadly, however much the state punishes her it will not deter other drivers who drink or text. So Ms. Cook cannot even be made an example of how dangerous this behavior is. Thanks to the prosecutor for a swift and serious indictment, altogether too often cyclists' lives get discounted.
What is left for her to do is resign and plead out, which would save the church and community the cost and angst of any drawn out proceedings

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Robin Bugbee
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Robin Bugbee

Alcoholism is indeed a disease. Texting while driving is not. It is an inexcusable error in judgement but not a disease and warrants no excuse or protection.

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Anthony Christiansen
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Anthony Christiansen

Great sorrow for the Palermo family, for Heather, and for our Church. Let's keep the focus on the needs of the family and at the same time remember that Heather is suffering from a disease. She is responsible for the appropriate treatment of that disease in order to keep it in remission, but it is a disease nevertheless.

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Jane Miller
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Jane Miller

I'm just grateful that you have covered this tragic story to keep us informed.

Praying for the whole world.

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Stewart Andrews
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Stewart Andrews

My initial emotion was disappointment. I am disappointed that the Bishop left the scene. As a person of God, there was an opportunity to minister to this dying man. She, in her shock, did nothing but minister her own needs. I reserved anger and judgement, until I learned of her DUI arrest through this article. Now I'm angry and scared. As a cyclist with children, this leaves me anxious and praying that she gets the help she needs.

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Torey Lightcap
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Torey Lightcap

Just honoring the fact of the great emotions these tragic events have kicked off in so many of us. Our feelings don't have to rule us, but they are a part of the mix. Thanks, Café; and what can we do at this time but to pray for everyone involved and recommit ourselves to the telling of the whole truth?

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donhands
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donhands

Sadly, grace notwithstanding and without a continuing, life-long and verifiable commitment to recovery, past behavior is still the best predictor of future behavior.

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Joie Weiher
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Joie Weiher

Agreed!

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Jason Mitchell
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Jason Mitchell

What's the criteria for removing someone from the Ministry? She should be defrocked!

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

There are national and diocesan procedures for "defrocking." This usually involves a trial and is seldom used. (However, dioceses still have to elect judges of the ecclesiastical court even though the chances of a court trial happening are very small.)

Usually, a cleric in "hot water" often is allowed to resign, sometimes to retain Holy Orders and sometimes not.

Bishop Sutton has suspended Bishop Cook's permission to be involved in any ecclesiastical acts.

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Ann Fontaine
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Ann Fontaine

RE: clergy discipline - proceedings have already begun https://www.episcopalcafe.com/episcopal-church-disciplinary-proceedings-begun-against-bishop-cook/

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Ann Fontaine
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Ann Fontaine

Constitution and Canons.

http://www.episcopalarchives.org/pdf/CnC/CandC_2009pp123-166.pdf

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Vinnie
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I hope that we can stand in the light of this terrible truth, have conversation, read each other's comments, disagree, agree and be willing to deal with a sad and an awful truth. This is what we, as preachers and teachers, parents and colleagues, ask of each other every day. I pray we can comment, feel, look at and honestly deal with this situation.

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Ann Fontaine
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Ann Fontaine

Thanks for commenting, Vinnie. Please sign your full name next time. Editor.

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Vinnie Lainson
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Thank you, Ann, for giving me a heads up that the field wants my whole name....first timer and messed up already!

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Nick Porter
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Nick Porter

Unfortunately it turned out to be exactly what a lot of people suspected. There will be lots of questions and hopefully some resignations. My heart breaks for the Palermo family. God have mercy on us all.

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Jackie O'Sullivan
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Jackie O'Sullivan

This might be considered an ironic request since I am posting, but how about shutting off comments for this piece? There will be heat, and what little light there may be does nothing to advance the criminal case or assuage the guilt and sorrow.

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Leave it open. We have freedom of speech in America, and that includes the Episcopal Church--warts and all.

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Jon White
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Jon White

We considered that, but have decided against it at this point. However, we will moderate as always and comments not in accord with our comment policy will be removed.

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