Pope Orders Probe of Sex-Harassment Claims against W.V. Bishop

Pope Francis meets Italian youths at the ancient Circo Massimo in Rome, Italy August 11, 2018. (Max Rossi/Reuters)

Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into allegations that Bishop Michael Bransfield of West Virginia sexually harassed a number of adult seminarians.

Bransfield was accused in 2012 of consorting with a fellow priest accused of molesting minors and failing to report the abuse, some of which allegedly occurred at his beach house on the Jersey Shore. The Pope has accepted his resignation and ordered William Lori, the archbishop of Baltimore, to oversee the investigation into his conduct and temporarily take over his post leading West Virginia’s 75,000 Catholics.

“I pledge to conduct a thorough investigation in search of the truth into the troubling allegations against Bishop Bransfield and to work closely with the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the diocese until the appointment of a new bishop,” Lori said in a statement posted on the archdiocese’s website.

News of the investigation comes as the Pope begins a closed-door meeting with leaders of the U.S. Bishop’s Conference assembled in response to allegations of widespread sexual abuse within the clergy and high-level cover-ups of that abuse.

In an eleven-page letter last month, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò accused Pope Francis of rehabilitating Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to a position of prestige within the church after his predecessor, Pope Benedict, sanctioned McCarrick due to claims that he had sexual relations with a number of seminarians and molested a 14-year-old altar boy. Those allegations closely followed the release of a Pennsylvania grand-jury report that detailed the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 minors by more than 300 priests in the state.

NOW WATCH: ‘Pope Vows To End Cover-Ups’

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

Most Popular

White House

What Is Hillary Clinton Thinking?

When Homer Simpson looks in the mirror, he sees ripped chest muscles and arms like the trunks of beech trees. When Hillary Clinton looks in the mirror, she sees America’s sweetheart. She thinks: America adores me. She thinks: America already chose me to be president once! She thinks: Everyone is comparing me ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Grassley’s Kangaroo Court

So now it looks like next Thursday. On Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s manifestly meritorious nomination to the Supreme Court, what was supposed to be the vote out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this past Thursday now appears to be sliding into a hearing to be held next Thursday. Or, who knows, maybe a Thursday ... Read More