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Heather Cook Applies for Work-Release

Heather Cook Applies for Work-Release

The Baltimore Sun reports that Heather Cook, the former bishop suffragan of Maryland, has applied for work-release:

“The prison system’s Victim Service Unit said in the July 19 letter to the family of Thomas Palermo that placement of Cook “is to begin within the next several weeks.”

“But Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said in an email that “there is no set time on when she would be approved or begin working” and he does not know why the letter gave that time frame.

“Shields said the department’s review ‘is not a quick process’ and that Cook is first undergoing a medical examination ‘to determine if she can work.’”

“… All incarcerated people are eligible to apply for work release within 18 months of their release date, Shields said, adding that Cook ‘is not being treated any differently.’ Cook’s current release date is in late August of next year, Shields said.”

Cook was sentenced to seven years in prison for a 2014 car accident where she struck and killed a bicyclist. She resigned and was deposed from the ministry on May 1, 2015.


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Eric Bonetti


What bothers me even more than the specifics of the Cook case — which is plenty disturbing in and of itself — is the lack of accountability and the skewed forgiveness theology that led to this situation. And while I am hopeful that the recent #churchtoo efforts are the start of change in this arena, the Episcopal Church remains mightily resistant to accountability, instead preferring an approach predicated on “moving on,” versus correcting the errors and sins of the past.

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