06:03 GMT05 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Pope Francis accepted on Thursday the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston and ordered an investigation into his sexual harassment charges, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the prelate of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, said in a statement.

    "Following his acceptance of the letter of resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, appointed Archbishop William E. Lori Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, while remaining Archbishop of Baltimore. The Holy Father further instructed Archbishop Lori to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment of adults against Bishop Bransfield," the statement said.

    Media reported, citing church officials and witlessness in court cases, that Bransfield was suspected of sexually harassing adults. The bishop, however, has denied the allegations.

    In August, a grand jury report revealed a massive cover-up of child sexual abuse and rape of more than 1,000 children by at least 300 Roman Catholic priests in the US state of Pennsylvania.


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