Pope Francis has imposed disciplinary measures on Bishop Emeritus Michael J. Bransfield, former bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. The action was announced on July 19, 2019, by Apostolic Nunciature in Washington
Pope Francis on September 13, 2018, accepted the resignation of Bishop Bransfield from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and appointed Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, as the Apostolic Administrator to serve until the appointment and installation of the new bishop. Bishop Bransfield had reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.
The Holy Father further instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield, according to a statement by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
The announcement said that based on the investigation, which looked into financial improprieties as well as sexual harassment of adults, the Holy Father imposed the following on the former bishop:
- The prohibition to reside in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
- The prohibition to preside or to participate anywhere in any public celebration of the liturgy.
- The obligation to make personal amends for some of the harm he caused; the nature and extent of the amends to be decided in consultation with the future Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston.
Below is the statement by the nunciature: