PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Pope Francis has ordered an investigation of a West Virginia bishop who has ties to the Philadelphia area over sexual misconduct allegations.
Bishop Michael J. Bransfield was formerly a priest in Philadelphia.
Thursday, he resigned amid accusations that he sexually harassed several adults.
Bransfield was reportedly implicated in 2012 in a Philadelphia sex abuse case but he strongly denied ever abusing anyone. The diocese said it had disproved the claims. He continued with his ministry until he offered to retire, as required when he turned 75 last week.
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori will take over Bransfield’s Wheeling-Charleston diocese temporarily.
Lori said in a statement that Francis had also instructed him to “conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield.”
The pope met with Catholic bishops to discuss how to prevent clergy sex abuse and protect children on Thursday.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)