Bishop shakeup: West Virginia Catholic diocese issues audit

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) – West Virginia’s Roman Catholic Diocese says its net assets dropped by $4.8 million during a fiscal year that coincided with the resignation of its bishop.

Bishop Michael Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston resigned in September 2018 amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Current Bishop Mark Brennan released the audit last week for the financial year ending last June.

Among the findings, liabilities totaled $70.3 million, up from $65.2 million. A church investigation found Bransfield misused diocese funds for lavish spending, luxury items and personal gifts to fellow bishops and cardinals.

The investigation also found sexual misconduct allegations against Bransfield to be credible. Bransfield has denied wrongdoing.

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