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Heather Cook’s first parole hearing is scheduled in May

Heather Cook’s first parole hearing is scheduled in May

Heather Cook, the former Suffragan Bishop of Maryland, is scheduled for her first parole hearing of her sentence for the manslaughter of a cyclist during a drunk-driving incident in December 2014.

The Baltimore Brew reports,

Cook, 60, who has been incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institute in Jessup, is scheduled to appear before the Parole Board on May 9, according to a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services  (DPSCS).

Cook had been sentenced on October 27, 2015, to seven years in prison for the crash, which claimed the life of Thomas Palermo, a married father of two who had been out riding his bike two days after Christmas.

Cook pleaded guilt to vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while under the influence and texting while driving.

A Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman told the Baltimore Brew that Cook is eligible for parole after 25% of her sentence, because her offence is considered non-violent.

In May 2015, in two separate actions, Cook resigned her position as Suffragan Bishop of Maryland, and agreed to an accord under which she was deposed by the Presiding Bishop, removing her authority to function as an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church.

Read more at the Baltimore Brew.


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Doug Desper

It remains: what about Bishop Sutton, Bishop Schori, and others who supposedly knew that Heather Cook was impaired at a reception prior to her ordination? What of the others who knew of her problems but didn’t speak up before she was ordained? This is not just a Heather Cook issue but a Church cultural dysfunction issue that moved her into a role that she was unfit to assume.

Janis Taylor

Heather Cook is not up for “harsher sentencing” on May 9th. She is up for parole after serving only 25% of a 7 year sentence.

Paul Woodrum

Yes, I should have said deposed rather than inhibited. But Cook did not renounce. And yes, Episcopalians don’t seem to have a clear doctrine … of much of anything. But my aging Anglo-Catholic genes are still whispering, “indelibility,’ from baptism through ordination. Blessed Maundy Thursday, all.

John Rabb

Paul Woodrum would be correct if the punishment – as per Title IV if the Canons of The Episcopal Church – were inhibition. That is a suspension from active ministries, and it can be specified so one does not lose all ministry functions. However the punishment is a deposition by which the offending bishop, priest or deacon loses all rights of all orders – if one is ordained in more than one. The church has struggled with what to do if someone who is deposed wishes to be restored. Without going into all of the details the process makes it clear when is deposed one loses all rights and responsibilities of the ordained ministry, and it is not simply wanting to return. Yes, we do not have a solely functional doctrine of ordination but it is not one of a continual presence. I will never refer to a deposed bishop, priest or deacon by an ecclesiastical title, that has been forfeited. Grace? It is never cheap.

David Allen

Yes, we do not have a solely functional doctrine of ordination but it is not one of a continual presence.

I’m curious why you believe this is true. What authoritatively leads you to this conclusion?

Paul Woodrum

Justice is for the accused. Too often vengeance is for the victim.

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