Episcopal Diocese holds closed meeting over Bishop Heather Cook


BALTIMORE —The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland held a closed meeting with clergy Tuesday to discuss a fatal bicycle crash in Baltimore involving one of its bishops.

The meeting of more than 100 clergy members follows the Dec. 27 fatal crash in the 5700 block of Roland Avenue in north Baltimore in which bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41, was killed. A memorial now stands at the location where Palermo was hit. Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook, 58, was identified as the driver who left the scene but came back a short time later. She has not been charged.

The Rev. Scott Slater, chief assistant to Diocesan Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, shared a report on events from the Dec. 27 crash, according to a diocesan statement. Slater said Cooke called him around 2:59 p.m. on the day of the crash and told him that she thought she hit a bicyclist and was in shock.

Slater said he arrived at the scene of the crash around 3:10 p.m. and he told officers that Cook had called him. Slater said he gave police a statement about Cook’s phone call and he contacted Sutton and the diocesan attorney. He said he did not speak with Cook at the scene.

Slater said he received a call from police around 5:27 p.m. to pick up Cook. Once at her apartment, he spoke with her briefly.

Slater said police asked him on the following Monday to give a recorded statement. Details of the statement were not shared at the meeting, according to a diocesan statement.

Cook remains on administrative leave with pay from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. Disciplinary proceedings are underway regarding Cook’s actions.

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