WHEELING, W. Va (WTRF) - New developments in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston have caused many around the community to react.
Earlier today, it was announced that Pope Francis appointed Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore as Apostolic Administrator for the diocese. He will conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by former Bishop Michael Bransfield, at the direction of the Pope.
In response to the recent announcements, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has released a statement, warning both the Diocese and the Vatican against taking the allegations lightly.
"The pope has asked an archbishop to look into charges that a bishop has sexually harassed adults," said Judy Jones, SNAP's Midwest Regional Leader. "One prelate 'investigating' his colleague is little progress."
They also detailed the steps they believe would constitute a thorough investigation, including making sure that every single document regarding Bishop Bransfield is turned over to law enforcement, as well as begging anyone who might have information to call law enforcement.
"Finally, if Bransfield is deemed guilty, he can't just be allowed to retire with full honors and benefits," said Jones. "He must be publicly punished, so similar misconduct can be deterred."