"Without a doubt, the alleged victims of former Bishop Bransfield's sexual harassment must be our first and constant concern," Lori said.
"Thus, the diocese has committed to providing counseling to them and to all priests and lay personnel at the chancery. I have asked that a permanent program be developed and advertised to seminarians and priests that such services are available."
Additionally, Lori confirmed that financial, pastoral, and practical resources were being made available to all victims, and that he had ordered the creation of an independent, third-party reporting mechanism in the diocese for accusations of sexual or financial misconduct, with complaints being forwarded to an independent, lay-led review board.
As Archbishop of Baltimore, Lori instituted a similar program in the archdiocese – the first of its kind in the United States.
"As we seek to understand how such behavior was able to occur over the course of Bishop Bransfield's 13-year-long tenure, it is evident from those who spoke with investigators that the Bishop's management style and personality undermined the effectiveness of diocesan policies, controls and oversight procedures," Lori said.
"In some cases, it is apparent that the judgment of diocesan personnel was impacted by the culture of fear of retaliation and retribution that the former bishop fostered."
Lori said he was working with the chancery staff and the diocesan finance council to institute new oversight policies. In response to Bransfield's "excessive and inappropriate spending," Lori said he had ordered the immediate listing and sale of the bishop's residence in Wheeling.
Applying the policy of rigorous transparency to himself, Lori noted that he too had received financial gifts from Bransfield over the years.
"In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel it necessary to acknowledge that I was periodically a recipient of financial gifts in varying amounts by Bishop Bransfield for various occasions over the years, including my installation as Archbishop of Baltimore in 2012 and annually at Christmas."
Lori said that following the extent of Bransfield's financial misconduct becoming clear, he had returned a total of $7,500 to the diocese with instructions that the funds be used for Catholic Charities.
"I am deeply pained by and sorry for the harm that the former bishop caused to those he was charged with shepherding in a spirit of Christ-like humility, service and pastoral care and charity," Lori concluded, underlining that episcopal accountability was a "critical issue" facing the Church.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
"We are committed to bringing about the healing that the good people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston require and can only pray for and work relentlessly to regain their renewed trust and confidence."