One of Bransfield's employees files lawsuit, claims former bishop sexually molested him
WHEELING – A former altar server and secretary to resigned Catholic Bishop Michael J. Bransfield has filed a lawsuit claiming the bishop sexually molested him.
The plaintiff, only identified as J.E., filed his complaint March 22 in Ohio Circuit Court against Bransfield, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and up to 20 unidentified defendants.
“The complaint is very specific and lays out the details,” attorney Bobby Warner of Warner Law Offices in Charleston told The West Virginia Record. “I find it troubling that while we continue to hear Bishop Bransfield’s name and alleged allegations, no one has stepped forward as an individual.
“I believe our client is the first individual who has had the strength and courage to step forward. It’s very troubling to me that while they’ve released names of individuals within the church in the press, Bishop Bransfield’s name wasn’t on the list. When, as you can see in our complaint, there have been prior allegations and investigations about him.”
According to the complaint, J.E. was a resident of St. Clairsville, Ohio, when the alleged incidents occurred. He now lives in Pocahontas County.
According to the complaint, J.E. first came in contact with Bransfield when he attended the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling.
“Bransfield was a sexual predator with lustful disposition toward adolescent males,” the 21-page complaint states. “After being placed in a position of trust by defendants, Bishop Bransfield sexually abused, molested, fondled and assaulted J.E. and other adolescent and ‘adult’ males by, through and during his employment as bishop with the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.”
The complaint says the other defendants knew of such accusations against Bransfield as early as 2007. Yet, it says they “took no action to appropriately investigate, counsel or sanctio...