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.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.