West Virginia bishop spent church money on liquor, 'luxury items' and home renovations, church report says

Michael J. Bransfield, then-bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, in 2015.

(CNN)The former Catholic bishop of West Virginia spent church money on "luxury items" -- including liquor, travel and home renovations -- and faces "credible" accusations that he sexually harassed adults under his authority, according to a report issued under a new Catholic policy to address misconduct by bishops.

The investigation into Bishop Michael Bransfield, formerly the head of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, was led by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. It is the first in the United States to use the so-called "metropolitan model" since the church's sexual abuse crisis escalated last summer.
Under that model, when an accusation arises against a bishop the complaint is handled by the local archbishop, or metropolitan. Those are usually the leaders of the region's biggest cities, hence the name. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is expected to formally adopt the new model at a meeting next week in Baltimore.
Bransfield, 75, whose cousin is a senior official in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, had been West Virginia's senior Catholic bishop since 2005. He resigned last September as Pope Francis announced an investigation into his conduct.
    The US Catholic Church spent more than $300 million on abuse-related costs in 12 months