Maryland’s Episcopal Diocese Under Fire for Elevating Bishop Heather Cook Even Though They Knew She Had DUI Record

Heather Cook was ordained in the Maryland diocese almost 30 years ago
Heather Cook was ordained in the Maryland diocese almost 30 years ago

The role of a high-ranking local religious leader in the death of a cyclist has stirred strong emotions and criticism of her church.

It comes as mourners are gearing up for a ride in honor of the victim.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren has a closer look at the role of the church.

Maryland’s episcopal diocese was first to confirm the bishop’s involvement in the fatal accident that took the life of 41-year-old Tom Palermo — and that she initially drove away.

They also outlined how they forgave her following a particularly ugly DUI incident four years ago. But now, they’re facing backlash over the bishop.

Bishop Heather E. Cook preached about taking responsibility, but many wonder how a woman of the cloth could hit a man and drive off, if the account from her church is true.

“We live in the midst of a culture that doesn’t like to hold us accountable for consequences,” Cook said in a sermon.

They also wonder how the church could forgive her past drunk driving arrest, where police say she wore her tire down to its rim. It didn’t stop the church from elevating her to no. 2 in power.

The leadership of the Maryland diocese said you can’t preach forgiveness without practicing it.

And the church notes Cook’s evaluation came with “extensive discussion,” an “extensive background check,” and a “psychological investigation.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: CBS Baltimore
Mike Hellgren

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