Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 / 03:52 am
Pope Francis Thursday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, and asked the Archbishop of Baltimore to launch an investigation into allegations of misconduct.
Archbishop William E. Lori was named apostolic administrator of the diocese and instructed by the Vatican to investigate allegations of “sexual harassment of adults” against Bishop Bransfield, according to a Sept. 13 statement from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
The diocese said the archbishop was asked by the Holy See to announce the forthcoming investigation. Upon its announcement, Lori stated that his “primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this difficult time.”
He pledged to conduct “a thorough investigation” of the allegations against Bishop Bransfield, “in search of the truth,” and “to work closely with the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the diocese until the appointment of a new bishop.”