WV bishop should openly address abuse allegations against him
A man has given sworn courtroom testimony in Philadelphia today that West Virginia's bishop, Michael Bransfield, took boys to a beach cabin, and a Philly priest told him Bransfield was abusing one of them.
And years ago, the friendship between the Philly priest and the West Virginia bishop was noted in a grand jury report. (As best we can tell, Bransfield never tried to refute the report.)
In light of this, we believe that Bransfield - not his lawyer or his PR man - should address these allegations, immediately and directly, and take questions about them. (Remember bishops have repeatedly promised for a decade to be “open and transparent” in clergy child sex abuse and cover up cases.)
This isn’t rocket science. For starters, there are three simple questions Bransfield should answer:
Did or does he own a house with Philly’s Fr. Gana? If so, did he take boys there? And did he molest any of them?
This notion that Bransfield somehow can’t respond to the testimony today in Philly, as his lawyer claims, is bogus.
There’s a second issue Bransfield must also address immediately; he’s refusing to send one of his priests to the trial in Philadelphia, despite a request from prosecutors.
Regardless of whether or not a WV judge ‘honors’ the Philly prosecutors’ warrant, Msgr. Kevin M. Quirk has sworn obedience to Bransfield. Bransfield can order Quirk to appear in court. Bransfield should do that immediately. If he doesn’t, that will only add to the doubts about Bransfield.