I am outraged that Heather Cook, the former Episcopal priest, has the audacity to request to be released from prison after serving only two and a half years, not even four years after killing bicyclist Tom Palermo in a horrendous turn of events in which she showed herself to have no moral compass, her professional life that of a complete hypocrite and a repeated danger to the public (“Former Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook applies to serve rest of sentence on home detention,” May 2).
She was over three times the legal limit for alcohol and texting when she swerved and struck Palermo. He rolled off the hood of her car, and then she sped off to escape detection and elude witnesses, leaving him to die on the side of Roland Avenue. After she realized she would be found, she turned herself in. When questioned, she lied and said she didn't realize she had hit someone.
After her being charged, she spent 13 days in a luxurious addiction treatment center on the Chesapeake Bay, planning on doing "more extensive treatment" there. She was free on bail for almost a year. So it's not like she has actually served the time between killing her victim in December 2014, and now, May 2018.
In late October of 2015, she was still free on bail and a Baltimore judge sentenced her to 20 years imprisonment but suspended 13 years. Ms. Cook was to serve five years for manslaughter, followed by two years for leaving the scene of the accident. So as of today, she has only served two and a half years. As if that wasn't bad enough, she apparently asked for release last May and was denied as the judge concluded she "showed no remorse" at her hearing for her disgustingly selfish way of life.
As a fellow widow to vehicular manslaughter, I have felt the ripping, torturous pain of suddenly losing my young husband, and two and half years into widowhood, I was not even close to being out of grief. My heart was torn in two and I was still reeling, trying to figure out how to carry on without my soul mate. My children bear the scars of losing their father even today. One does not recover from this kind of loss in a few years.
Bishop Cook does not need to get back to living comfortably in her gated condominium in Roland Park yet. She needs to recognize the damage she did, not only to the Palermo family, but also to the Episcopal Church, which suffered enormously from her many actions associated with this horrific incident. Many people had put faith in her and were disillusioned and shaken. She needs to learn many lessons, stop begging for release, man-up, make use of her time in jail, serve her much reduced sentence using her skills to help other inmates and try as best possible to show the worlds which she destroyed that she is willing to make realistic amends.
Georgia Corso, Baltimore
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