Three High Ranking Priests Step Down From Leadership Roles in W.Va. Following Investigation
Three priests have resigned from their high-ranking positions in West Virginia, according to a press release from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
The latest news from the Catholic Church in West Virginia follows an ongoing church investigation, which found that high ranking priests enabled predatory and harassing conduct by Former Bishop Michael Bransfield. Bransfield has denied wrongdoing.
Archbishop William Lori announced the resignations on Monday, saying monsignors under Bransfield's command enabled misconduct and misspending. Monsignors Frederick Annie, Anthony Cincinnati, and Kevin Quirk will step down from their leadership roles, but remain priests. According to the press release, Quirk is also stepping down from his position on the Board of Directors at Wheeling Jesuit University and Wheeling Hospital.
Lori says the following personnel changes are effective immediately:
Father James DeViese Jr., J.C.L., will assume the responsibilities of the Judicial Vicar on an interim basis and oversee the Office of the Tribunal, while continuing in his role as Pastor of St. Patrick (Weston) and St. Boniface (Camden) Parishes and Good Shepherd Mission in Glenville.
Monsignor Joseph Peterson, currently Pastor of St. Michael Parish in Wheeling, will serve as Interim Rector of St. Joseph Cathedral and Reverend Carlos Melocoton Jr. will serve as Pastor of St. Michael.
Fr. Dennis Schuelkens will serve as Interim Director of Clergy Personnel while continuing as Pastor of St. Joseph the Worker and Sacred Heart Parishes in Weirton.
Mr. Lawrence Bandi, President of Central Catholic High School in Wheeling will serve as the Archbishop’s representative to Wheeling Hospital. The Archbishop will soon appoint his representative to Wheeling Jesuit University.
“I am grateful to all of these individuals and to my brother priests for their hard work and dedicated service to the Church, especially in these challenging times,” Archbishop Lori said.