Washington D.C., Oct 3, 2019 / 14:33 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Former Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Michael Bransfield is facing an allegation that he touched inappropriately a nine year-old girl during a pilgrimage to Washington, DC, in 2012.
A subpoena was delivered to diocesan authorities in the West Virginia diocese Oct.1. According to a report by the Washington Post, the girl, now 16, alleges that the unelaborated incident took place when she was supposedly left alone in a room with Bransfield in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington during a diocesan-sponsored trip. The complaint was reportedly filed in July of this year.
Bransfield categorically denied the allegations in a phone call with the Washington Post, saying on Thursday, “Oh my God. Oh no, that’s horrible.”
“That did not happen. Somebody has imagined this. I can’t believe it,” Bransfield said. “I’m getting attacked from people I don’t know.”
Bransfield’s resignation as Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston was accepted by Pope Francis immediately after he turned 75 in September last year. Following his resignation, Pope Francis ordered Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore to conduct an investigation into allegations that Bransfield had sexually harassed adult males and misused diocesan finances during his time in West Virginia.