DUI bishop

Baltimore Sun skips key angle in DUI bishop case: Why was Heather Cook using that cellphone?

Baltimore Sun skips key angle in DUI bishop case: Why was Heather Cook using that cellphone?

It made headlines at the end of 2014 and during 2015, and the DUI-linked vehicular homicide conviction of a now-former Episcopal bishop in Baltimore made news again last week.

Heather "DUI bishop" Cook, at one time the suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Church's Maryland Diocese, will remain in prison until at least 2020. She failed to gain early release at a parole hearing mandated by state law.

Cook, whose seven-month tenure as a bishop effectively ended with the December 2014 crash that killed cyclist Tom Palermo, expressed no remorse at the hearing, according to media reports. (She actually resigned on May 1, 2015, roughly one year after being elevated to the role.) The Baltimore Sun, which has been on top of the story since the accident, sums things up for us:

The Maryland Parole Commission on Tuesday denied the parole request of Heather Cook, the former Episcopal bishop who is serving a seven-year prison sentence for the drunken-driving crash that killed a bicyclist in 2014.
Commission chairman David Blumberg said the two commissioners who ruled on the case told him they denied Cook parole in part because she "took no responsibility" for her actions and displayed a "lack of remorse" during the 90-minute hearing at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup.
Cook's attorney for the hearing, Hunter L. Pruette, left without addressing reporters and could not be reached for comment.
Cook, 60, pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges of vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving, driving while texting and leaving the scene of an accident in the crash that killed 41-year-old Thomas Palermo on Dec. 27, 2014. She will no longer be eligible for parole.

The Sun report continues with a recapitulation of the case, as well as some of the comments made by Palermo's widow, Rachel, following the hearing. Watching this woman's statements -- see video above -- is painful. Two young children are without their father; a young wife was robbed of her husband. 

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Baltimore Sun still ignoring obvious national Episcopal Church story in its own back yard

Baltimore Sun still ignoring obvious national Episcopal Church story in its own back yard

Obviously, my personal relationship with The Baltimore Sun has changed in the past few weeks.

As I sit here at my home office desk, looking out into an East Tennessee forest, I no longer have a copy of the Sun sitting nearby, retrieved from my front yard. Every few days, I get one of those computer-driven emails from the Sun circulation department proclaiming, "We want you back!" or words to that effect. I filled out my ex-subscriber online feedback form the other day and it was totally about cyber-issues, without a single question on news content.

Nevertheless, I am trying -- sorting through the online summaries and waves of pop-up ads -- to keep up with some of the important, ongoing religion stories in Maryland.

Take, for example, the obvious Baltimore angles in the national Episcopal Church gathering out in Utah. I have been looking for references to two important Episcopalians -- former bishop Heather Elizabeth Cook and current Maryland Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton. You just know that Episcopalians have been talking about the DUI bishop case and the state of legal affairs in Maryland. Right?

The Sun team did, leaning on Associated Press wire copy, run a short story about the election of the church's new presiding bishop, noting a strong Baltimore connection. That little story began like this:

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, the first African-American to lead an Episcopal diocese in the southerm United States and a former rector in Baltimore, will become the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

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