The Wheeling Intelligencer presents the Bishop Bransfield story, earlier part of a Phila. Inquirer story, in the starkest of terms:
PHILADELPHIA- A man testified Wednesday in a clergy abuse trial that a priest raped him in the 1970s at a beach house owned by the Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield and that he was told that Bransfield, who currently serves as bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, also sexually abused a boy.
The 48-year-old man also testified that he saw Bransfield with a car full of boys at a farm owned by his accused abuser, the Rev. Stanley Gana. The witness said that Gana told him Bransfield was having sex with the boy who was in the front seat.
Another man has testified that Bransfield had a lewd conversation with him.
The testimony came at the trial of the Rev. James Brennan, who’s accused in a 1996 child-sex assault.
Bransfield has not been charged, nor has he ever been charged, the Intelligencer reports. Nor accused, as far as a monitoring of his history on the Internet can tell us.
The Wheeling diocese is withholding comment until “the facts and issues surrounding this testimony are made fully known to the Diocese,” except to urge Catholics “to remember all victims of sexual abuse and to pray for them and their families” and to dismiss the trial itself as a “circus” and part of a smear campaign by prosecutors.
“They seem to want to bludgeon witnesses, smear individuals not on trial, anything to bolster their persecution of the church,” the diocese said in a separate statement. “The trial appears to be evolving into a circus with no rules and boundaries.”
Apparently at issue is the appearance at the trial as a material witness of a Wheeling priest, Monsignor Kevin Quirk, rector of the cathedral. A local judge is expected to rule tomorrow (4/20) whether Monsignor Quirk is required to testify.