BALTIMORE, Md. - After the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Pope Francis has appointed the Archbishop of Baltimore, William E. Lori as the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia.
This new placement of position comes after allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield. The Pope has requested that Archbishop Lori complete further investigation into the sexual allegations against the former bishop of the Diocese.
“My primary concern is for the care and support of the priests and people of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston at this difficult time,” Archbishop Lori said in the news release. “I further 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.”
Archbishop Lori is scheduled to meet with the clergy and lay leader of the diocese on September 13 and 14 to discuss the investigation.
Bishop Bransfield was ordained and installed Feb.22, 2005, as the eighth bishop of Wheeling-Charleston at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Diocesan bishops are required by canon law to submit their resignation upon reaching the age of 75. Bishop Bransfield turned 75 on September 8 and the pope accepted his resignation on September 13.
A hotline has been established for those wishing to share any information related to this investigation. The hotline number is 1-833-272-4225.
Archbishop Lori will serve as apostolic administrator until the appointment and installation of a new bishop.