Sep 26, 2018 / 15:45 pm
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore has begun an investigation into the alleged misconduct of Bishop Michael Bransfield, who until recently led the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Lori was appointed apostolic administrator of West Virginia’s only diocese Sept. 13, and was charged by Pope Francis with undertaking an investigation in allegations of “sexual harassment of adults” against Bransfield.
Bransfield’s resignation as diocesan bishop was accepted by the pope on the same day as Lori’s appointment.
In a Sept. 25 letter to clergy of the diocese, Lori reported that he had formed a five-member investigative team “comprised of three men and two women, including one non-Catholic, who bring a breadth of investigative expertise and experience to the their work.”
Lori said that the team was already reviewing “more than three dozen calls to the hotline I established on the day of my appointment as Administrator.”
“I have asked for a thorough, independent, and expeditious investigation,” he added.
While Lori was instructed to investigate charges that Bransfield had sexually harassed adults, Bransfield has faced other allegations in the past.
During the 2012 Philadelphia trial of two priests, one charged with sexual abuse and the other with enabling him, witnesses and a prosecutor alleged that Bransfield “may have known about sexual misconduct by [another priest] or abused minors himself,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.