SNAP Responds to the Conclusion of the Investigation into Wrongdoing by Former WV Bishop
The investigation against the former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has concluded, diocesan officials have confirmed. Now, as the results of the diocesan investigation are sent to the Holy See for review, SNAP is urging another investigation into the claims, this time by West Virginia law enforcement officials.
As a result of the investigation into Bishop Michael Bransfield, the current diocesan administrator of Wheeling-Charleston, Archbishop William Lori, has announced that Bransfield “is not authorized to exercise any priestly or episcopal ministry within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.”
For the protection of children and the prevention of future abuse, we’re glad that these few details have been made public and that some steps have been taken and are sure that those review board members who helped the Diocese investigate the allegations against Bransfield did so to the best of their ability and knowledge. But as we have consistently been shown in the past six months, we cannot count on church officials to be forthcoming about clergy sex crimes.
Instead, we urge West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to follow in the footsteps of his colleagues from 17 other states and open an investigation into clergy sex abuse in West Virginia. No institution can police itself, and an outside investigation by trained law enforcement professionals is the best way to get to the bottom of not only the allegations against Bishop Bransfield, but for the whole of the clergy sex abuse crisis in West Virginia.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)