Bishop Heather Cook was bailed out today by a person she has described as her “steady companion,” Mark H. Hansen, a former Episcopal priest who was defrocked in 2005 for his opposition to the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.
Hansen posted $35,000 of collateral and signed a $215,000 promissory note to meet the 10% requirement of the $2.5 million bail for Bishop Cook, who was jailed last Friday on manslaughter and drunk driving charges stemming from a car crash that killed bicyclist Thomas Palermo.
Reached this afternoon, Hansen said, “I’m not talking to the press, OK? We have an attorney.”
Only one condition is required of Bishop Cook under the terms of today’s bail: “Do not drive while pending trial.”
Arinze Ifekauche, spokesman for State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, confirmed that Cook “is not on pretrial supervision.”
It is not known where Cook will go after her release today. After the fatal crash with Palermo, Cook stayed at Father Martin’s Ashley, an alcohol treatment center near Havre de Grace, before she was jailed last Friday.
Cook’s attorneys, David Irwin and Jose A. Molina, have not returned phone calls seeking comment.
Clashed with Church
The address listed for Hansen on court documents is the small Eastern Shore town of Millington. He is listed in his LinkedIn profile as executive director of St. Paul’s Cathedral Trust in America.
According to the New York Times, Hansen was removed from the Episcopal priesthood in 2005 after he openly opposed the consecration of Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the church’s first openly gay bishop.
He was one of six priests, known as the “Connecticut Six,” who stopped forwarding church dues to the Connecticut diocese because its bishop had supported Robinson.
Bishop Andrew D. Smith later defrocked Hansen and removed him from his duties as a result of Hansen’s unauthorized sabbatical and alleged financial shortcomings as a rector of a church in Bristol, Conn.
According to on-line records, Hansen is currently a lay pastor at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Massey, Md., and founder of Pegasus Philanthropic Partners.
In an autobiographic sketch for the Maryland Episcopal Diocese, Bishop Cook described her relationship with Hansen as follows:
“Supporting me in my vocation is my steady companion, Mark, a passionate Anglican. After having dated in our twenties, life took us different ways, but we found each other again two years ago, and it has been a great blessing.”
Between 2005 and 2014, Cook served as Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Easton, which serves the Eastern Shore.
Flight Risk No More?
Police and prosecutors were asked who decided that the only condition set for Cook’s release was that she promise not to drive, pending trial.
On Monday, an assistant state’s attorney had told District Court Judge Nicole Pastore Klein that Cook posed a danger to the public and was a flight risk and should have no bail.
Cook’s attorney, who was asking for bail reduction, had offered a number of conditions in return, including resuming treatment at Father Martin’s Ashley and going afterwards into a residential treatment program or home detention.
Asked whether now, under the terms of today’s release, Cook was technically free to go anywhere at this point, provided she not drive there herself, Tammy Brown, a spokesman for State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said: yes.
Asked who set these bail conditions, Brown said it was either a bail commissioner or District Court Judge Nicole Pastore Klein.
Given Temporary Driver’s License on Day of Crash
Another of Molina’s offers Monday was that Cook would surrender the “paper license” she had been given.
Det. Ruganzu Howard, spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, said that Cook was given a DR-15 temporary driver’s license when she was released from the Northern District on the day of the crash.
“These are good for thirty-days and have certain restrictions,” Howard said in an email to The Brew. (Checking the Maryland code [16-205.1], it’s actually a DR-15-a and it’s 45 days.)
Asked if Cook was ever required to surrender the DR-15, he said, “I’m not sure if the issued DR-15 has been surrendered. It has not been surrendered to the BPD.”