West Virginia’s Bishop Michael Bransfield was forced to tendered his resignation last September when credible claims of sexual abuse were made against him.
In a new lawsuit, the former personal secretary for Roxborough native and ex-West Virginia Bishop Michael J. Bransfield described his former boss as a “sexual predator” prone to binge-drinking orange liqueur and venting his lust on priests and seminarians.
The plaintiff, a onetime seminarian in his early 20s identified in court filings by the initials J.E., says that Bransfield exposed his penis and groped him while they were traveling together on church business in 2014.
His suit marks the first time any of the bishop’s accusers have publicly offered an account of the type of alleged misconduct that led the Vatican to oust Bransfield, 75, from his position last year.
But in an interview Wednesday, the retired prelate dismissed the man’s claims — and those of his other accusers — as nothing more than a money grab.
Since his resignation in September, Bransfield has been beset by a growing list of legal problems, including a lawsuit filed last week by West Virginia’s attorney general, alleging he and his predecessors within the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese had knowingly harbored pedophiles.
He was previously accused of abusing a minor during his time as a priest in Philadelphia — a claim Bransfield denied. Both prosecutors and the archdiocese reviewed the allegation; neither ultimately took action against him.
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