Former West Virginia Bishop Accused in Lawsuit of Being a “Sexual Predator”
A lawsuit was filed yesterday in West Virginia that names the former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as a “sexual predator.”
We hope that the filing of this lawsuit against Bishop Michael Bransfield will help J.E. along his healing journey. It is a brave thing to come forward with allegations and we commend him for doing so. We suspect that the announcement of this suit will encourage other victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and report their own abuse. We hope that when they do, they contact independent law enforcement or the attorney general, not Church officials.
When the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston released their list of “credibly accused priests,” it left Bishop Bransfield’s name off. The allegations in this suit only make that omission show how far the Diocese really is from complete transparency. We hope that a fuller accounting of the scope of abuse within this Diocese will be revealed by Attorney General Pat Morrisey’s recently filed lawsuit against it. Clearly we cannot rely on Church officials to be forthcoming about clergy sex crimes.
(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)