Heather Cook, former Episcopal bishop, receives prison sentence for DUI death

October 28, 2015

Heather Cook, 59, former Episcopal bishop suffragan of Maryland, received a seven-year prison sentence on October 27 for charges related to driving while intoxicated and killing a cyclist.

Thomas Palermo, 41, died as a result of his injuries after Cook struck him in Roland Park, Mary­land, on Decem­ber 27, 2014.

Cook had pleaded guilty to the charges, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Because bishops are under the authority of the presiding bishop, not that of the diocese, then presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori led the disciplinary process against Cook. In May she announced that Cook would “no longer function as an ordained person.”

Cook addressed the court at the Baltimore Circuit Court sentencing hearing, the Sun reported.

“I am so sorry for the grief and the agony I have caused,” Cook said. “I accept complete responsibility.”

She then told the judge, “I believe God is working through this, and I accept your judgment.”

This article was edited on November 12, 2015.