UPDATED: A link to Ihloff’s reflection in full.
The Baltimore Sun has the report.
… the case has continued to reverberate through the Episcopal Church, with the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Ihloff, a former bishop of Maryland, writing in a church email newsletter Thursday that Cook’s actions after the collision mean she is no longer fit to serve as a bishop.
“She has violated the basis for our trust in leaving the sceane of the accident,” wrote Ihloff, now the interim rector of the The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore.
“All persons have a moral responsibility to stop whatever the nature of an accident. When a life hangs in the balance, that duty to stop and assist is especially crucial.”
Ihloff wrote: “Can she be forgiven? Yes, by God and after repentance. Can she be trusted as a leader of the Christian Church? Sadly, ‘No.'”
The same article reports the prosecutor has scheduled a news conference for 11AM Friday. The prosecutor was inaugurated just this evening of Thursday January 8.
Addendum. A further excerpt from Bishop Ilhoff’s reflection dated today, January 8:
None of this is made better by the fact we are still waiting for charges to be filed and do not know a number of key details.
We do know an innocent man is dead and his family grieving. We know that Heather, the driver of the car left the scene of the accident and returned later. We do not yet know other crucial details; there is much speculation. However we know enough to assume Heather will not be allowed to resume her episcopal ministry. Why? She has violated the basis for our trust in leaving the scene of the accident. All persons have a moral responsibility to stop whatever the nature of an accident. When a life hangs in the balance, that duty to stop and assist is especially crucial. We will, sadly, never know if Heather’s stopping and calling 911 would have enhanced efforts to keep Tom Palermo alive; what we do know is she ceased being “a wholesome example,” as she drove away. Can she be forgiven? Yes, by God and after repentance. Can she be trusted as a leader of the Christian Church? Sadly, “No.” This accident will haunt her the rest of her life, regardless of what other details eventually come out. The Church deposes clergy who cross boundaries of sexual morality or who embezzle money or are guilty of a variety of crimes, including “hit and run.” It’s not that these persons no longer have a ministry or God can’t use them, it’s that we can no longer trust them to model a “wholesome example” as leaders in the Church. Already, Presentment charges are being prepared by The Episcopal Church which will almost assuredly result in Heather being deposed. Of course, we should hold her in prayer and trust in time, God will be able to guide her into new ways of service. She may even be able in time to draw on her tragic story in ways which will edify others. We should all be humbled in this tragedy to realize anew how potentially dangerous each of us can become behind the wheel of a car if we are inattentive, distracted, or careless. We can be more watchful and courteous to bikers and pedestrians (as well as to other drivers). We cannot change this tragedy, but we can learn from it.
Posted by John B. Chilton