Bishop summons clergy to meeting after death of bicyclist in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun

By Luke Broadwater
The Baltimore Sun

The Episcopal Bishop of Maryland has summoned all the clergy of the Diocese of Maryland to a Tuesday morning meeting in Frederick County after a high-ranking church official was involved in a crash that killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41, a married father of two.

Church spokeswoman Sharon Tillman confirmed Sunday that The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton has called church clergy to a meeting at the Claggett Center near Buckeystown. She said the meeting was closed to the public to “allow clergy time to process the tragic events of the past week that involved a colleague.”

Police are continuing to investigate the 2:40 p.m. Dec. 27 crash on the 5700 block of Roland Ave. Episcopal officials have identified the driver of the car as Bishop Suffragan Heather Elizabeth Cook, the second-ranking official in the Diocese of Maryland. Cook initially drove away from the scene but returned a short time later, according to the diocese and witnesses at the scene. Another bicyclist followed her to a gated apartment complex. No charges have been filed.

Cook, who has been placed on administrative leave, is “barred from performing any duties of a bishop or a priest,” Tillman said.

Palermo’s death has galvanized many in Baltimore in recent weeks, prompting hundreds to attend a memorial bike ride and Sutton to ask all church members to engage in “silent prayer and reflection” on Saturday.

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