Heather Cook Indicted in Hit-and-Run Crash

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Ghost Bike on Roland Ave. memorializes Tom Palermo.
Ghost Bike on Roland Ave. memorializes Tom Palermo.

A grand jury returned a 13-count indictment against Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook on Wednesday. The move essentially means the jury agreed to move forward with all of the charges that were filed last month by State Attorney Marilyn Mosby for the death of cyclist Tom Palermo.

The charges include aggravated manslaughter, as well as DUI and texting while driving. Cook, who is free on bail, allegedly hit Palermo while he was riding in the bike lane in the 5700 block of Roland Ave. She initially left the scene before returning to submit to authorities. A blood alcohol test showed she had a BAC of .22, which is nearly three times the legal limit.

The indictment follows a new revelation from the Episcopal Diocese about Cook’s behavior in the months leading up to the crash. According to a new entry to the Episcopal Diocese’s timeline of events in the case, Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton suspected Cook was inebriated at a private dinner held two days before her formal installment. The incident is not directly connected to the crash or the indictment, but reflects on Cook’s pattern of behavior following her prior DUI conviction.

The timeline states as follows:

September: Bishop Sutton suspects that Cook might be inebriated during a private dinner held two days before the consecration, and conveys concern to Presiding Bishop before rehearsal the next morning (one day before the consecration). Presiding Bishop indicates she will discuss with Cook. Cook consecrated a bishop

Cook is currently in a 28-day treatment facility.

This article was updated at 5 p.m.



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  1. Daniel J. Webster has recently come out of hiding to speak publicly on behalf of Bishop Sutton after he was outed on the Baltimore Brew. Webster is canon for evangelism and ministry development in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. He is also a former journalist and media spin himself. He also arranged for his wife’s (Meredith Gould) private company to be hired by Bishop Eugene Sutton as a “communications consultant.” She has been posting rabidly on social media defending Bishops Jefferts Schori and Bishop Sutton, the two bishops who knew Cook was an alcoholic prior to her ordination and still ordained her themselves. Canon Dan Webster himself, according to a public posting by Gould, has been secretly in contact with Michelle Borstein of the Washington Post to influence her writing of the stories. Neither disclosed that. Gould also did not disclose that she was being paid by Bishop Sutton for her postings, not did Bishop Sutton ever inform his congregation he was paying a private media spin company.
    A few years ago Canon Dan Webster wrote the following as Director of Communications for the Episcopalian Diocese of Utah some years ago: “It is about power and control. It is about “doing it my way.” It has little to do with biblical orthodoxy and apostasy. It comes down to winners and losers. As Anglicans, it probably should be no surprise if we look at our history. Murder, assassination, trials, incarceration, slander, mayhem have all been used to resolve internal church disputes.” http://www.thewitness.org/agw/
    This is the current predicament ordinary Episcopalians find themselves in.

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