West Virginia’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit on March 19 alleging that a Roman Catholic diocese and its former bishop “knowingly employed pedophiles,” thereby ignoring the obvious danger to children, according to a notice from the general’s office.
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey alleged that former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield failed to conduct suitable background checks for potential employees at the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese working at schools and camps.
A copy of the civil complaint alleges the diocese and its bishops, including Bransfield, “chose to cover up, and conceal arguably criminal behavior of admitted child sex abusers.”
The suit alleged that the bishop’s actions lacked transparency and stood in stark contrast to the diocese’s advertised mission of providing a safe learning environment for their children.
“Our investigation reveals a serious need for the Diocese to enact policy changes that will better protect children, just as this lawsuit demonstrates our resolve to pursue every avenue to effectuate change as no one is above the law,” Morrisey said in a statement.