Bishop Michael J. Bransfield

Last First Ord T Status D/O Notes Diocese Source/Assignments
Bransfield (Bp)
Michael J. 1971 P Accused Diocesan Bransfield, Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Diocese since 2005, was named as an abuser of boys in testimony by one witness in trial of Msgr. Lynn/Fr. Brennan in Philadelphia 4/12. Another testified Bransfield had a lewd conversation with him. Both men were testifying about abuse by Stanley Gana. Prosecutor in trialalso said that Bransfield had been accused in separate instance of fondling a minor. Bransfield has emphatically denied the allegations. Philadelphia, PA Source:
Biography of Bp. Bransfield from Wheeling-Charleston Diocese website;
CBS Philly 4.18.12;
Philadelphia Inquirer 4.18.12;
Charleston Daily Mail 4.19.12;
Statement from Bishop Bransfield;
Charleston Daily Mail 4.19.12;
Philadelphia Inquirer 4.20.12;
Philadelphia Inquirer 4.22.12;
Philadelphia Inquirer 7.9.12;
Wheeling The Intelligencer 7.9.12;
Steubenville NBC WTOV9 7.9.12;
Wheeling CBS WTRF7 7.9.12;
Wheeling The Intelligencer 7.10.12;
WV Public Broadcating 7.10.12;
Wheeling The Intelligencer 7.11.12;
Levittown The Intelligencer 7.11.12;

BA.org Assignment Record

Assignment Record

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield

Summary of Case: Bransfield began his career as a priest of the Philadelphia archdiocese. He was a parish priest, then a teacher, chaplain and vice-principal of an archdiocesan high school. Bransfield left Philadelphia when appointed director of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, becoming its rector when the National Shrine was made a basilica. In 2005 Bransfield was elevated to bishop of the Wheeling-Charleston diocese. In a 2012 trial of other Philadelphia clergy, Bransfield was accused of having sexually teen boys in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Another of the trial's witnesses stated that when he was a minor Bransfield spoke to him in a lewd way. A prosecutor at the trial said Bransfield was accused in a separate case of fondling a student. Bransfield denied the allegations.

: 1971

Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Philadelphia archbishop was John Joseph Krol (1961-1988)

1973 St. Albert the Great Huntingdon Valley PA 2/3 St. Albert's had a school with 454-445 boys and 445-402 girls.
1973 1979 St. Stanislaus Lansdale PA

6/6, 5/5

In residence.

St. Stanislaus had a school with 799-718 students.
1973 1979 Lansdale Catholic High School


PA teacher; chaplain; chairman of religion dept.; vice-principal Lansdale Catholic High had 249-371 boys and 336-417 girls.


Washington DC archbishop was William Wakefield Baum (1973-1980), followed by James Aloysius Hickey (1980-2000). Hickey was succeeded by Theodore Edgar McCarrick (2000-2006).

1990 On Duty Outside the Diocese/National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception


During testimony in the 2012 trial of Philadelphia's Msgr. Lynn and Fr. Brennan, a witness stated that Bransfield had sex with teenage boys. The witness had alleged abuse for years by Bransfield's colleague, Rev. Stanley Gana. The witness said he was at Gana's farm in northeast Pennsylvania when a car full of teenagers that was driven by Bransfield pulled up. The witness said Gana told him they were Bransfield's "fair-haired boys" and that Bransfield was having sex with one of them.

A second witness and Gana accuser said in the 2012 Philadelphia trial that once after abusing him, Gana put him on the phone with Bransfield who said, "I'm going to have Stanley put you on a train and come down and see me sometime." Bransfield was living and working in Washington DC at the time.

A prosecutor in 2012 said there had been an allegation that Bransfield had fondled a student.

DC assistant director 1979-1986; director 1986-1990

The witness in the Philadelphia trial also stated that when he was a minor Gana sexually abused him in a New Jersey beach house owned by Bransfield.

1990 2005 On Duty Outside the Diocese/Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Washington DC rector In 1990 Pope John Paul II declared the National Shrine a minor basilica.
2003 2005 Catholic University of America Washington DC Board of Trustees member
U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops Washington DC treasurer; Communications Committee member; National Collections Committee member
Knights of Columbus member
Knights of the Holy Sepulchre member
Papal Foundation Bala Cynwyd PA president
St. Charled Borromeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board of Trustees member
Catholic Distance University Wheeling WV Board of Trustees member
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Washington DC Board of Trustees member


Bransfield was ordained and installed as Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Feb. 22, 2005

Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Wheeling WV Bransfield vehemently denied the allegations made during a 2012 Philadelphia trial that he had sexually abused teenage boys.



Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1972-2011)

News items:

Witness Links West Virginia Bishop to Priest Abuse, By Tony Hanson, CBS Philly, April 18, 2012
Witness Implicates a Bishop in Sex Abuse Scandal, By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 18, 2012
Bishop of W.Va. Catholic Diocese Accused of Abuse, Charleston Daily Mail, April 19, 2012
A Statement from Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, April 19, 2012
Today: Bishop Bransfield Denies Sexual Abuse Accusations, By Jared Hunt, Charleston Daily Mail, April 19, 2012
Bishop Denies Witness" Abuse Allegations, By Joseph A. Slobodzian and John P. Martin, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 20, 2012
Ousted Priest at Center of Abuse Trial, By John P. Martin and Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 2012

This assignment record was last updated on April 23, 2012