Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Bishop Cook out on bail

A “Connecticut Six” rector has bailed Heather Cook out of the Baltimore County Jail

A $2.5 million cash bond has been filed with a Baltimore County Court to secure the release of the Suffragan Bishop of Maryland pending her trial on charges of manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol.

On 15 Jan 2015 Bishop Heather Cook left the country jail in mid-afternoon after the terms of her bond were satisfied. The bishop’s whereabouts are not currently known, but it is believed she has entered a substance abuse treatment facility. No travel restrictions or conditions were set for the bishop’s release, apart from a ban on operating a motor vehicle.

Dr. Mark Hansen, one of the original Connecticut 6 rectors, paid for the bond. A friend of the bishop’s since their days as fellow students at General Theological Seminary, Hansen (pictured above on the far right of the group photo wearing a yellow tie) was deposed in 2005 by the Rt. Rev. Andrew Smith of Connecticut after he attempted to withdraw his congregation, St John’s Episcopal Church in Bristol, from the diocese.

After leaving the ministry Hansen worked as a fundraiser for several charities. At the present time he serves as partner with Pegasus Philanthropic Partners and is executive director of the St Paul’s Cathedral Trust in America, while also serving as “lay pastor” of St Clement’s Episcopal Church in Massey, Md., in the Diocese of Easton.

In the autobiography she submitted to the diocese as part of the search process, Bishop Cook (who was then serving as Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore) wrote:

“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.”

Hansen had been married when he was rector of St John’s from 1990 to 2005, but subsequently left his wife and is now divorced.

According to online court records the bishop’s bond was posted by Aaron Mossman, a bail bondsman with the surety company, Lexington National. The Baltimore Brew reported that in return for posting the $2.5 million cash bond Hansen paid $35,000 and signed a note pledging payment of a further $215,000, payable in installments of $1000 for the next 215 months.

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