Vatican Bans West Virginia Bishop From Ministry Over Sexual, Financial Charges

By Barbie Latza Nadeau
Daily Beast
July 20, 2019

The Vatican banned West Virginia bishop Michael J. Bransfield from public ministry over credible accusations of sexual and financial misconduct, but stopped short of defrocking him. The measure was outlined in a letter authorized by Pope Francis to the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, which states that the disgraced prelate now has “the obligation to make personal amends for some of the harm he caused.”

Bransfield resigned in September after an underling exposed years of sexual and financial misconduct, including how the bishop bought influence by giving cash gifts to senior Catholic officials to keep his crimes quiet. The Washington Post reported that Bransfield spent more than $2.4 million on luxury hotels and private jets and racked up bills of $182,000 on fresh flowers. The bishop also employed a personal chef, chauffeur and carried out more than $1 million in renovations to his private residence. He is also accused of giving more than $350,000 in cash gifts to young seminarians and priests he allegedly sexually harassed.



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