Lawsuit accusing ex-bishop of drunken sexual assault settled

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A lawsuit accusing the former bishop of West Virginia’s Roman Catholic diocese of molesting adolescent and adult males has been settled.

Wheeling-Charleston Diocese spokesman Tim Bishop said in a statement the terms of the settlement are confidential.

A former personal altar server sued ex-Bishop Michael Bransfield and the diocese in March, saying he was sexually assaulted in 2014 and harassed for years prior. The filing asserted Bransfield would consume at least half a bottle of liqueur nightly and had drunkenly assaulted or harassed seminarians.

Bransfield resigned in September 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

In the past year the diocese released the names of 40 priests or deacons credibly accused of sexual misconduct since the 1950s. Bransfield wasn’t included.

The state’s attorney general has sued the diocese and Bransfield, saying they covered up criminal behavior.

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