By Shawn Boburg, Robert O’Harrow Jr., and Michelle Boorstein
For months, civil authorities and Catholic parishioners have sought access to a secret church report about Michael J. Bransfield, the West Virginia bishop ousted for alleged sexual and financial misconduct. Law enforcement authorities in two jurisdictions contend that it could aid investigations they have launched, and parishioners have said it could help them understand how Bransfield’s behavior went unchecked for so long.
But so far, the report has remained out of their reach.
The Washington Post obtained a copy of the document in June and has drawn on it and other records for a series of stories about the role of cash gifts among senior clerics in the church’s ongoing sex abuse crisis.
The 60-page report is brimming with investigative findings about how Bransfield allegedly groomed and inappropriately touched young men and spent millions of dollars in church money on himself and on fellow clerics.
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