Attorney General Morrisey Reacts To Pivotal Hearing in Case Against Wheeling-Charleston Diocese

Updated 4 days ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office urged a circuit court at a hearing Tuesday in Parkersburg to allow its case against the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese to proceed.

 
“We are pleased and appreciate having had our day in court,” Attorney General Morrisey said after the hearing. “These allegations are very serious, and we are hopeful now that we can begin a process of bringing true transparency to this ordeal and ensure compliance with our state’s consumer protection laws.”
 
The Attorney General argues his office’s lawsuit does not seek to dictate how the Diocese can hire, teach and operate, rather it seeks to enforce state law that requires honesty in advertising when the Diocese markets its fee-based schools and camps.
 
These facts include allegations that the Diocese hid its knowing employment of abusive priests and its failure to conduct the comprehensive background checks it promised.
 
The Attorney General contends attempts to dismiss the state’s lawsuit rely upon a flawed reading of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
 
The Diocese did not issue its list of credibly accused priests until after issuance of the Attorney General’s first investigative subpoena in the fall of 2018. The lawsuit that followed has been instrumental in educating the public on the issue, and the state’s response argues there is much more to reveal that can only be accomplished by advancing the state’s case.
 
The civil complaint alleges the Diocese’s conduct lacked transparency and stood in sharp contrast to its advertised mission of providing a safe learning environment.
 
The Attorney General, who initiated the investigation in the fall of 2018, brought the action against the Diocese and former Bishop Michael J. Bransfield for violations of the state’s consumer protection laws, in addition to seeking a permanent court order blocking the Diocese from the continuation of any such conduct.
 
Read the Attorney General’s response filing at http://bit.ly/2lW034t, along with a copy of the amended civil complaint at http://bit.ly/2HMD0jN.
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