Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston: Former Bishop Michael Bransfield Didn’t Belong on List

The Intelligencer

December 1, 2018

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston said Friday it didn’t include its former bishop among lists it released the day before because allegations that he had sexually abused children were not credible.

“Allegations made against Michael Bransfield involving alleged charter issues took place while he was a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” said Tim Bishop, director of marketing and communications at the diocese, about the former bishop. “The archdiocese concluded those allegations to be non-credible, they therefore were not added to the (Wheeling-Charleston) list. Any questions about that investigation should be forwarded to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

During the 2012 criminal trial of two other priests in Philadelphia, two witnesses and a prosecutor alleged that Bransfield sexually abused children. Bransfield has denied those allegations.

“As is pertains to the current investigation of allegations against Bishop Michael Bransfield for the sexual harassment of adults: The allegation does not involve a charter issue and would not be listed for that reason,” the spokesman said.

The lists the diocese released Thursday afternoon included 31 priests who it said had been credibly accused of sexual abuse against minors or who had other credible allegations regarding the Charter for Protection of Young People. One list included priests who had been accused while serving in the diocese. A second list included clergy members who had a credible accusation and had worked in the diocese. However, those accusations had occurred elsewhere.

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