New details have emerged regarding a bishop in West Virginia who resigned in September amid allegations of sexual assault.
In September, I wrote about West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield. Pope Francis accepted Bransfield's resignation that month amid allegations that he had sexually harassed multiple adults.
There is more to the story, however, as has been revealed in an investigative report conducted by a team of five. The report, which was obtained by the Washington Post, found that parishioners had been reaching out to the Vatican and senior Catholic leaders in the U.S. at least as far back as 2012 regarding his abuse of power.
Bransfield was spending church money on things like a personal chef and chauffer, $4.6 million in renovations to his church-provided home, and $2.4 million in spending on luxury travel. At least four of the Catholic leaders outside West Virginia who received complaints about Bransfield also received money from him. He paid them off, giving them more than $32,000 in all. In all, his cash gifts to members of the clergy totaled $350,000.
The money came from oil wells in Texas. The wells were given to the West Virginia diocese about 100 years ago, and in recent years have provided the church with $15 million annually.
The local paper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, ran articles in 2006 and 2013 on the complaints parishioners had regarding Bransfield's opulent lifestyle.
Bransfield got away with this for years, until one of his aides revealed years of sexual misconduct, on top of his spending habits.
In August of 2018, Monsignor Kevin Quirk, wrote an eight-page letter to William Lori, the archbishop of Baltimore. Quirk served as Bransfield's judicial adviser, and had the opportunity to witness Bransfield's behavior for years.
Quirk detailed Bransfield's drug and alcohol abuse, his spending, and numerous instances of sexual abuse and harassment.
According to Quirk, he witnessed Bransfield inappropriately hugging young priests, and convinced them to take shirtless photos which he kept on his phone.
Quirk himself has since resigned since the investigative team found that he and two other vicars had enabled Bransfield's behavior.
Archbishop Lori said of the situation, "Friends, there is no excuse, nor adequate explanation that will satisfy the troubling question of how Bishop Bransfield’s behavior was allowed to continue for as long as it did without the accountability that we must require for those who have been entrusted with so much, both spiritual and material."
Well, archbishop, I can tell you that you can find the explanation by just looking at the pattern found within the Catholic Church. This is absolutely the modus operandi of the church. The Catholic Church is a criminal organization.