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BALTIMORE — Top officials in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland have asked the bishop implicated in a fatal collision with a bicyclist in Baltimore to immediately resign her position in the church.

The diocese’s eight-member Standing Committee agreed unanimously that Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook is “no longer able to function effectively” in her position, it wrote in a letter this week to Cook, which the diocese posted to its website.

Cook, 58, was arrested earlier this month and charged with manslaughter and other traffic offenses in the killing of bicyclist Thomas Palermo, 41, in North Baltimore in December, after Baltimore police determined she had struck Palermo with her vehicle.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said at a news conference that Cook’s blood alcohol level was 0.22 percent — nearly triple the legal limit in Maryland — and that she was text-messaging at the time of the collision.

Cook initially left the scene along Roland Avenue before returning. She has been released on bail.

The diocese has repeatedly released information about the accident, at times before police and prosecutors, since it occurred. It said it would be reviewing the decision to appoint Cook to her position despite her guilty plea in a previous drunken-driving case in 2010.

In its letter requesting her resignation, the Standing Committee said it “arrived at this decision after significant and prayerful discernment, and with due and proper consideration for the best interests of the diocese and its people.”

It added, “We continue to hold you in our prayers.”

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©2015 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Topics: g000065582,g000362661,g000066164,g000226591

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