Pope Francis (L) speaks speaks with the Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl at the end of a midday prayer with US bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015 on the second day of his visit to the US.  AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis (L) speaks speaks with the Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl at the end of a midday prayer with US bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2015 on the second day of his visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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German Bishops take part in the opening mass at the German Bishops' Conference on September 25, 2018 in the cathedral in Fulda, western Germany. - Germany's Catholic Church is due on September 25, 2018 to confess and apologise for thousands of cases of sexual abuse against children, part of a global scandal heaping pressure on the Vatican. It will release the latest in a series of reports on sexual crimes and cover-ups spanning decades that has shaken the largest Christian Church, from Europe to the United States, South America and Australia. (Photo by Arne Dedert / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read ARNE DEDERT/AFP/Getty Images)
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Cardinals attend the religious mass 'Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice' at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Vatican City, 12 March 2013. The Catholic Church's 115 cardinal electors are taking part in a mass in St. Peter's Basilica on 12 March ahead of entering the conclave for a papal election that observers say has no clear favourite. The Pro Eligendo Romano Pontefice ('For the Election of the Roman Pontiff') mass is presided by Angelo Sodano, the elderly dean of the College of Cardinals, and is also open to non-voting cardinals - those aged more than 80. The next pope will take over a Church beset by infighting, scandal and dwindling support, particularly in the West.
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(CNN) —  

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a West Virginia bishop and has ordered a church-run investigation into allegations that the bishop sexually harassed adults, church officials said Thursday.

Michael Bransfield submitted his resignation as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston Diocese upon turning 75 last week – and 75 is the age at which bishops are required to offer to step down.

Bishop Michael Bransfield addresses a 2010 memorial service for coal miners.
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Francis not only accepted Bransfield’s resignation but also ordered the archbishop of Baltimore to oversee Bransfield’s diocese temporarily and investigate “allegations of sexual harassment of adults against” Bransfield, the Baltimore Archdiocese said in a statement.

“I … pledge to conduct a thorough investigation in search of the truth into the troubling allegations against Bishop Bransfield and to work closely with the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the diocese until the appointment of a new bishop,” Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said in the statement.

The archdiocese did not immediately offer details about the allegations.

Catholic bishops are required to offer their resignations at age 75, but they often are allowed to serve beyond that.

The announcement of the investigation and resignation comes as Francis met Thursday at the Vatican with some top US Catholic officials as the church faces clergy sex abuse scandals on several fronts.

Among the scandals:

• Allegations that a former top American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, had sexually abused seminarians and an altar boy. McCarrick has denied the accusations about the altar boy and not responded to the allegations about the seminarians.

• A 900-page investigative report released last month by a grand jury in Pennsylvania that found more than 300 priests had sexually abused more than 1,000 children in six dioceses in the state since 1947, often while church leaders covered up the crimes.

• An explosive letter from a formal papal diplomat has raised questions among senior church leaders about why McCarrick was allowed to rise through the church’s ranks as well as who knew about the sordid accusations against him.

CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Daniel Burke and Hada Messia contributed to this report.