Heather Cook asked to resign by Maryland diocese
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland formally called on Heather Cook to resign as an employee of the diocese for “the best interests of the church and its people.”
While Cook cannot resign as Bishop Suffragan until after the conclusion of the church’s Title IV disciplinary investigation, her superior, the Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, called on her to step down from her $120,000-plus-a-year job.
The request was made in a short one-page letter to Cook by the diocese’s Standing Committee and seconded in a separate statement by Bishop Sutton.
The letter was sent to her criminal attorney, David B. Irwin of Towson. Bishop Cook was charged with manslaughter, drunk driving and leaving the scene of a fatal accident with bicyclist Tom Palermo on December 27.
She is now staying at Father Martin’s Ashley, an alcohol and drug addiction center near Havre de Grace, after former Episcopal priest Mark Hansen posted $2.5 million bail for her release from city jail.
The Standing Committee, composed of four priests and four lay persons, told Cook that “after significant and prayerful discernment,” it concluded that “you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events.”
Cook is currently on paid administrative leave. Attorney Irwin could not be reached this evening.