Lawsuit accuses ex-bishop of sexually harassing seminarian

West Virginia
Michael J. Bransfield, Michael Bransfield

FILE – A 2015 file photo shows West Virginia Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, then-bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. In a news conference scheduled for Tuesday, July 23, 2019, West Virginia’s Roman Catholic Diocese says it’s set to discuss its “future leadership,” 10 months after the resignation of Bransfield. (Scott McCloskey/The Intelligencer via AP, File)

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) – A lawsuit filed against a former West Virginia bishop is the second this year accusing him of sexual harassment.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports the complaint against Michael J. Bransfield was filed in mid-September in Ohio County Circuit Court. Attorney Robert Warner filed the lawsuit on behalf of a recent seminarian in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The seminarian says he met with Bransfield in 2015. He says the diocese later paid for his schooling and gave him a free vehicle. The seminarian accuses Bransfield of inappropriately touching and kissing him multiple times beginning in December 2017.

Diocesan spokesman Tim Bishop says the diocese cannot comment on pending litigation. The Intelligencer says attempts to reach Bransfield were unsuccessful Monday.

A lawsuit accusing Bransfield of molesting males was settled in August.

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