The latest allegations against Bransfield aren't decades old. They occurred within the past few years. Like McCarrick, Bransfield had a reputation for being an active homosexual who harassed seminarians. When he was the administrator for the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. his lavish parties were the talk of the town. Once he arrived in Wheeling he enjoyed every luxury money could buy spending like a drunken sailor on his own personal comfort.
As for the complaint for sex abuse. It is no surprise, particularly in view of the allegations back in 2012. The warning lights flashed around Bransfield for years!
You can read the complaint filed on March 22nd against Bishops Bransfield and "John Does 1-20" here. It's not pleasant reading, that's for sure. The bishop is described as a "binge drinker" who when intoxicated fondled and harassed both minors and adults. Paragraphs 23-25 of the complaint allege that:
23. ...Bishop Bransfield was a binge drinker of alcohol, nightly consuming one-half (1/2) to one whole bottle of Cointreau liquor, an 80 proof orange flavored alcohol, costing well over Twenty Dollars ($20.00) a bottle.One particularly egregious allegation occurs in paragraphs 32-35 of the complaint:
24. ...Bishop Bransfield was know to Defendantas to drink until he was intoxicated at which point he would engage in grossly inappropriate behavior, including but not limited to making sexually suggestive gestures, hugging, kissing, inappropriately touching and foundling (sic) seminarians.
25. ...Bishop Bransfield was a sexual predator with lustful dispositions toward adolescent males. After being placed in a position of trust by Defendants, Bishop Bransfield sexually abused, molested, fondled, and assaulted J.E. and other adolescents and 'adult' males, by, through and during his employment as Bishop with the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
32. ....In May of 2014, during a multi-day trip to Charleston, West Virginia, to conduct mass, Bishop Bransfield was drinking heavily and inadvertently locked himself out of the parish. Msgr. Kevin M. Quirk, a member of the executive staff to Bishop Bransfield, telephoned J..E. late at night to have him unlock the parish doors and let in the drunken Bishop Bransfield.
33. Initially Msgr. Kevin M. Quirk agreed to stay on the telephone with J.E. while he let Defendant Bishop Bransfield into the parish, but upon opening the door and letting Bishop Bransfield in the home, J.E. ended the conversation in order to be able to assist the drunken Bishop Bransfield into the parish.
34. Once inside...Bransfield exposed his erect penis, grabbed J.E. from behind, pulled J. E. against him, running his hands down J.E.'s chest and over his genitals. J. E. struggled free of Bishop Bransfield's grasp, ran into another part of the parish and locked himself in a room until daylight.
35. J.E. was mortified and emotionally traumatized by the attack. The following morning Bishop Bransfield acted as if nothing had happened and carried on with Church business as usual.This case hasn't gone to trial and Bishop Bransfield has the right to his day in court. But his dismissal after the Church investigation indicates the truth of the matter.
In the meantime, this story is one more indication that the bishops need to clean up their act. Every man in a miter who enabled sex abuse by moving predators around and covering up their crimes should resign. And frankly, if every penny in the Church coffers is paid out in judgments that may be a blessing. Poverty attracts a lot fewer climbers than affluence. And please...don't give to the biishops Lenten appeal! Put your money where it will do some real good -- an orthodox seminary, a crisis pregnancy center, the Little Sisters of the Poor, etc.