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Prosecutor: separate allegation against West Virginia bishop

April 20, 2012

A Philadelphia assistant district attorney has told the judge presiding over a clerical sex abuse trial that prosecutors are aware of allegations “of a fondling of a student by [Bishop Michael] Bransfield.”

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington’s statement followed hearsay trial testimony in which “John”--a 48-year-old alleged clerical abuse victim--testified that Father Stanley Gana, a priest removed from ministry in 2002, had told him that then-Father Bransfield had abused another teenage boy. While this testimony was hearsay, a second witness at the trial testified that he had a lewd conversation with the future prelate.

Bishop Bransfield, a Philadelphia priest who was named Bishop of Wheeling - Charleston in 2004, has stated unequivocally that “I have never sexually abused anyone.”


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