Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Former Bishop Bransfield is Settled
A sexual assault lawsuit against the former Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston WV has been settled. We hope this outcome brings some healing to the survivor and will encourage other victims of Catholic clergy to come forward, find support, and help prevent future cases of abuse by exposing perpetrators.
Despite repeated pledges of openness and transparency, church officials continue to be secretive, offering ‘no comment’ instead of helpful details that might shed more light on this troubling situation. For example, church officials could share information related to when the allegations against former Bishop Michael Bransfield were first received and what was done in response to them. This kind of transparency will help protect the vulnerable. We hope that parishioners and the public in West Virginia demand answers from about this case and push church officials to be more honest about abuse and cover ups.
A survivor's need for privacy must, of course, be honored. Yet at the same time, we believe that Catholic officials can and should share as much information about these crimes as they can. Only when abusers are exposed and those who enabled the abuse are identified and disciplined can we be confident that future cases will be prevented rather than covered-up.
(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; our Australia website is SNAPAustralia.org)