In the past year, the net assets of the U.S. diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in the U.S. state of West Virginia fell from about $357 million to $350 million. Bishop Bransfield faces criticism over sexual and financial misconduct.
The negative cash audit comes during the final phase of the tenure of former Bishop Michael Bransfield, 76, against whom massive allegations of sexual and financial misconduct have been made. For the first time ever, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, among the poorest dioceses in the U.S., is publishing such a financial audit.
Church investigations against Bransfield
A church investigation had revealed in 2019 that Bransfield spent diocesan funds on personal gifts to other church officials, luxury items and vacations, as well as alcohol, restaurant and hotel bills. Also, review found allegations against Bransfield of sexual misconduct credible.
Successor Bishop Mark Brennan said the cost of reviewing the allegations against Bransfield had cost about $1.5 million. In November, Brennan unveiled a plan that would require Bransfield to raise nearly 800.Repaying $ 000. The money, it said, should go into a fund for abuse victims.