UPDATE: West Virginia diocese to release names of accused priests

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WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - A Roman Catholic archdiocese in West Virginia says it plans to release the names of all priests accused of child sexual abuse since 1950.

In a news release, Archbishop William Lori of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston says none of the individuals who will be listed are in active ministry.

Last month Pope Francis accepted the resignation of West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield and authorized an investigation into allegations he sexually harassed adults.

No timetable was given in terms of when the list would be released. Lori, who is Bransfield's temporary replacement, says the list will include the accused priests' assignments in the diocese. He says "the trust of the people has been badly damaged."

Lori also is the archbishop for the Baltimore archdiocese.

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UPDATE: 9/13/2018, 3:20 PM

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has issued a statement about the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield from his position in the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's full statement says:

“The allegations against Bishop Bransfield are disturbing and warrant a close review by the State of West Virginia to ensure that West Virginians are protected. My Office will be closely reviewing this matter to determine how best we can protect West Virginians who might have been victims in this scandal. We have reached out to the Diocese and expect they will be fully cooperative in efforts to get to the bottom of these matters.”

Bishop Bransfield submitted his resignation to Pope Francis on Thursday, after allegations surfaced that he sexually harassed adults in the diocese.

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop William Lori to be the Apostolic Administrator of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese after Bishop Bransfield's resignation.

The Pope also instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.


ORIGINAL STORY: 9/13/2018, 7:29 AM

Following the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop William Lori Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.

The Pope also instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.

“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 a press 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 will meet with clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese Thursday and Friday. He will celebrate Mass in Wheeling on Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

A hotline has been established for those wishing to share any information related to this investigation. The hotline number is 1-833-272-4225.



 
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