Bransfield’s Spending Spree Detailed in Report

News Register

Dec. 24, 2019

Disgraced former bishop Michael Bransfield regularly abused prescription drugs and alcohol, which “likely contributed to his harassing and abusive behavior,” according to a secret report commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church.

Also during Bransfield’s 12-year tenure as bishop, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston spent $187 million more than it took in, causing the former bishop to draw from the diocese’s endowment and mineral rights account to make up the deficit, according to the report.

The Washington Post released the entire 60-page Bransfield report Monday. The newspaper obtained a copy of the document in June.

The report, labeled “privileged and confidential,” was submitted on Feb. 21 to Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore by the firm of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

Factual findings in the report include:

* “By failing to take any action, the chancery monsignors enabled the predatory and harassing conduct of Bishop Bransfield, and allowed him to recklessly spend diocesan funds for his own personal use. Further, independent, qualified lay and clergy board members should be selected to serve appropriate advisory roles in connection with actions taken by diocesan-related entities and should receive support for their proper functions.”

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