In a gracious turn of events Thursday, embattled Episcopal Bishop of Maryland Heather Cook posted an "unprecedented" $2.5 million bail to free herself from the Baltimore City Detention Center where she had been locked up since last Friday after she was formally charged with the drunk-driving death of 41-year-old father of two Thomas Palermo.
"She has been released. She's going directly to an inpatient alcohol treatment facility and she will not be driving pending trial," confirmed Cook's lawyer, Jose A. Molina, in an interview with The Christian Post.
Mark Vernelli, communications director for public safety in Baltimore City, also confirmed the news saying she left the Baltimore City Detention Center some time between noon and 1:30 p.m. Thursday. more >>
Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook's scandalous fall from grace after a fatal DUI incident for which she was jailed last Friday has left the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland in "deep pain" and forced the diocese's highest ranking official to shed tears over the shame that the incident has brought on the church.
In a pastoral letter to the diocese Tuesday, The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton revealed the pain Cook's tragic alcoholism has brought on the church and shared how much grief it has personally caused him.
"The Diocese of Maryland is in deep pain. Words barely express the depth of our shock and despair over the events and revelations of the past two weeks in the aftermath of the tragic collision involving Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook," he noted in the opening statement of his letter. more >>
The recent fatal DUI incident involving disgraced Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, Heather Cook, who's now stewing in jail as a result of criminal charges filed against her last Friday, is an "epic failure" of the Episcopal Church says Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Maryland, Rev. Anjel Scarborough.
In an open letter to her congregants posted to her church's website last Friday, Scarborough explained that while the church doesn't appear to have breached any guidelines in the process of promoting Cook to the second highest-ranking position in the diocese last spring — even after she revealed she had been charged with a nasty DUI in 2010 — how Cook's addiction was allowed to fester to the point of causing a death while still serving in the church was an "epic failure" of the Episcopal church's vetting process.
"In the end, this was an epic failure. It was the failure of a process to stop a candidate for bishop from being put forward when clearly her alcoholism was not in remission," wrote Scarborough. more >>
Jailed Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, Heather Cook, confessed in court Monday that she has an alcohol problem, and one of her lawyers has revealed that she's "suffering a great deal right now" after being charged with the drunk driving death of married father of two, Thomas Palermo.
"She does admit to an alcohol problem," Cook's defense lawyer, Jose A. Molina, revealed at Cook's bail hearing Monday, according to the Baltimore Brew.
The confession comes just weeks after church officials claimed that their investigation into Cook's background, which revealed a 2010 DUI conviction in which Cook was so drunk she couldn't complete a sobriety test, was just "one mistake." Church officials also said Cook didn't have a problem with the bottle prior to her elevation to the second-highest ranking position in the Diocese of Maryland last spring. more >>
A florist in Washington State who refused to provide floral arrangements to a gay couple for their same-sex wedding ceremony, due to her religious objection to such a union, can now legally be sued personally by the state's attorney general's office, a judge in the state has determined.
Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom ruled last week that the state may bring a consumer protection lawsuit against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, as she is being accused of violating the Consumer Protection Act when she declined to provide floral arrangements to a regular customer's same-sex wedding because it went against her Christian beliefs.
The judge's decision means that Stutzman remains at risk of suffering a serious personal financial hit and potential loss of her business. Ekstrom has set the trial date for March 23. more >>
A man believed to be linked to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last week has been arrested in Bulgaria, officials announced today.
Prosecutor Darina Slavova told ABC News that Fritz-Joly Joachim, 29, was arrested on Jan. 1 for allegedly trying to smuggle his 3-year-old son into Syria. Joachim is believed to be part of a terrorist criminal group and had been in communication with Cherif Kouachi, one of the Charlie Hebdo killers, before his attempt to enter Syria. He was arrested in Bulgaria for allegedly kidnapping his son, and a background check showed his association with the terrorist group.
Joachim converted to Islam 15 years ago and reportedly became radicalized just two years ago. He resides in Bobigny, a suburb of Paris and is expected to be extradited to France, where he will likely face charges in association with the massacre that saw 12 people initially murdered before the Kouachi brothers were taken down by police after a standoff. more >>