"Welcome to the bat cave," Monsignor Craig Harrison's attorney announced. "Look up here."

Three large, brown sheets of easel paper were taped to the wall of the small, bare office, furnished only with a simple desk and two facing, upright chairs. Harrison, wearing a crisply ironed short-sleeve shirt, slid into the chair facing his lawyer. He looked to be 10 pounds lighter than the Father Craig his parishioners would remember.

Kyle Humphrey gestured toward the wall, where the easel paper had been arranged into one giant, blue-felt-tip scrawl of numbered names and dates. Blue lines connected some of the names to other names and some of the dates to other dates.

This was more war room than bat cave. This was the bunker, just across the hall from Humphrey's cluttered office, where, for weeks now, he has been formulating a defense for his most celebrated client, a popular priest suspended from his clerical duties while investigators look into allegations of sexual impropriety.

"Now look," Humphrey said again, and the lawyerly lecture began.

Humphrey has looked at hundreds of cases, both as a prosecutor and, for most of the past 30 years, a defense lawyer, but none have been anything like this: a trial, of sorts, with no reliably traveled path to exoneration.

Harrison, a gregarious, highly visible monsignor, was suspended April 24 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which announced it was revisiting accusations that Harrison had inappropriately touched a teenager while working at a Catholic church in Firebaugh in the 1990s. A second man contacted the diocese a few days later, also alleging "inappropriate behavior."

Harrison was still recovering from an exhausting succession of Masses and other Easter weekend events when, that Tuesday night, he received a call from the diocese requesting his presence in Fresno the next morning.

"He just said, 'I need to talk to you,'" Harrison said of his phone conversation with Bishop Armando Ochoa. "'Can you come down?' I said, 'I have a funeral (to officiate).' And he says, 'Can you get out of it?'"

Harrison drove to Fresno the next morning with his parish administrator, and Ochoa laid out the accusation. He told Harrison he would have to clear his calendar of church-related duties, refrain from offering Mass and stop wearing his clerical collar. And he told Harrison he would need an attorney.

"I felt like, at that moment, my life just stopped," Harrison said.

Harrison took Ochoa's advice and called an attorney — Humphrey, who is not merely a battle-tested lawyer but a parishioner and decadeslong friend.

"Kyle said, 'Because of who you are, and the town, and the media, I suggest you leave,'" Harrison said. "So I went to the coast and I stayed with two friends. And then I waited and waited (30 days) until Kyle said, 'It's time to come home.' And I was very scared. I had not seen the news or read the newspaper. And Kyle would only fill me in on what he thought I needed to know."

And so with great trepidation Harrison drove home, announcing his arrival to the neighbors by scraping bottom on his steep driveway, as he always did, every morning and every night, coming and going. They would know that noise.

"I'm an anxious person. I'm a nervous person. I'm a worrier. I was like, 'How do I tell my kids and grandkids? What about them and their lives? And what about my church? And what about all my commitments?'"

He felt shame and responsibility for the pain he thought he had caused his children, his grandchildren and his parish.

"I felt like I had to let all these people down, just being removed like I was. And I came home, and it was unbelievable."

Neighbors spotted him on the sidewalk outside his home, taking his dog for its morning constitutional, and embraced him. Another neighbor, a woman he'd grown up with, did the same. A friend driving down Harrison's street saw him, stopped his car, ran over and greeted him.

"They were hugging me and crying and saying, 'We're just glad you're home.' That I broke a lot of my fears."

Danielle Humphrey, the attorney's daughter, had just passed the state bar and now she was to be sworn in. "She wanted me to go to her ceremony, but I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I'm not going out in public, into the courthouse.' I'm used to being a priest. I'm used to being dressed as a priest. But (Humphrey's) girls have been a big part of my life forever. So I go, 'OK, I'm gonna go.'

"I was a nervous wreck but I walked in the courthouse, and there's the sheriff's deputies at work (guarding the entrance) and they're like, 'Hey, Father Craig, welcome home.' Attorneys, judges — everyone just came out, like, 'Welcome home,' and I felt so good."

Once the ceremony ended, Harrison, grateful things had gone so well but emotionally exhausted, looked forward to going home and getting into bed. Danielle Humphrey had other plans.

"She tells me we're going to Mexicali for her party. So instead of turning left toward my house, we're turning right. I'm going! I'm doing my deep breathing, my yoga breathing. I walk into Mexicali and walk through the whole (dining) room and we're in the back (banquet) room. It was unbelievable. People just got up out of their seats and greeted me, said 'Welcome home.' ... And each (new) group (that) came in, they jumped up and ran over to the table to welcome me home. So I'm home."

He is heartbroken, though, that he cannot perform weddings, eulogies or other church-related events for people whose families he's known his entire life.

"You work with brides and grooms and they're so excited," Harrison said. "I am booked for weddings a year in advance. And I have some friends that are really sick that I would be visiting (in his priestly capacity)."

Harrison is frustrated by what he perceives to be abandonment by the diocese. He said as much in a statement released to the media late last month.

"I have come to the realization that this is a battle that I am left to fight without support from the diocese," Harrison wrote May 24. "Over the past month, while the diocese investigated the accusations against me, they never once reached out to me for my side. In fact, neither (former) Bishop Ochoa, (newly installed) Bishop (Joseph V.) Brennan nor any member of the diocese has checked on my state of mind or welfare. I have not been invited to respond or provide evidence to the diocese. Out of respect for the investigation, I have remained silent."

Teresa Dominguez, spokeswoman for the Fresno Diocese, responded by reminding the public that the diocese is in transition, still dealing with Ochoa's May 2 retirement and Brennan's recent arrival. She also noted that Harrison "knows that he can also initiate contact at any time."

If he were to sit down with a diocese representative, Harrison said, he would reiterate the message he wants to share with his parish, with the world.

"I know there's no truth to any of this. I don't know what that's going to mean for my future. ... But when it's over, God willing, God will give me some sense of what he wants me to do in my life. At this stage, I don't know the answer this question."

Humphrey wouldn't share much of his defense strategy, wouldn't talk much about the curious coincidences and inconsistencies he says they have discovered. He showed me the list of names, places and dates in the bat cave only on my promise not to disclose details. The time, he said, is not right, the work incomplete.

But he did offer this backdrop: A "cabal" of religious extremists within the Catholic Church who are rabidly opposed to what they see as the liberalization of the church brought about by the Ecumenical Council known as Vatican II are trying to rid the church of priests they see as products of that liberalization.

"They're homophobes, they are anti-women and anti-children," Humphrey said. "They really don't like what they consider to be a liberal, modern church. They feed on each other. They're almost like Infowars (conspiracy website) types of characters. They band together, and have a sort of power over the church. And they have become allied with groups like SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). ... If you can knock out a priest, get rid of the charismatic aspects of the faith, then maybe you can get back to a time where people wore doilies on their heads and didn't understand what was being said in Latin (during Mass).

"But there's also individual motivations. There are people who see a paycheck at the end," he said.

Harrison also concurs with his son, Roy Keenan (one of the seven for whom he has become legal guardian or adoptive father): Keenan says Harrison's tendency to take on too many "project" teens may have created resentment among those he couldn't fully deliver to safety.

"I've spent my life working with people," Harrison said. "Maybe it didn't dawn on me that there could be people out there that I didn't fulfill their needs. I've had husbands blame me for their divorces, because in counseling something came out. People blame me for their problems. It's common in counseling, teaching, coaching people. But I would never think it would go to this level."

And so he waits. He says Mass for himself, in his own kitchen, sometimes with a neighbor or his sister, but often alone. He reads the stacks of cards and emails he receives daily and, when appropriate, responds as often as possible.

Then he goes to bed, sleeps as best he can, and then wakes up to Groundhog Day.

Contact The Californian’s Robert Price at 661-395-7399, rprice@bakersfield.com or on Twitter: @stubblebuzz. The views expressed here are his own.

(54) comments


I believe the victims are telling the truth. To those who are coming out to tell their story - good for you! Stay brave! You are preventing future children, especially vulnerable children, from harm. I am not an expert on priests in power and/or well-liked priests molesting children, but wow – this certainly is a heavy-duty systemic issue for the Catholic Church.


He has been treated like the Pope of Bakersfield for too long. Harrison, its time to "get over yourself"


Harrison doesn't practice what he preaches. I attend St. Francis. I have heard him say many times, "We are not to worry about anything." "We re not to stress." Yet, he claims he is a "worrier". And that he was very "nervous" about going out in public after returning home to Bakersfield. He is, was, claims to be a priest! A church pastor! Yet where is HIS faith? If he is innocent, why should he be worried? Why is/was he so worried and nervous? If one is truly innocent and on top of it, true believer, why be worried? Why be nervous? A man (a good priest!) of true faith would not be worried about persecution of any type. Right? Cause they would know that they had nothing to fear. My sister who lives out of town and is unfamiliar with Harrison's rock star status in BKFD, raised some good questions. Why does a priest live in a big house in Westchester? PRIESTS ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIVES OF HUMILITY Why was Harrison receiving rock star treatment wherever he went or wherever he goes? PRIESTS ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIVES OF HUMILITY Why did Harrison adopt all of those boys and become a father, and celebrate holidays with a huge family of grandkids and daughters- in- law? He described these parties at church and entertained us all. PRIESTS ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIVES OF HUMILITY. Harrison is the least humble person, he knows he has a lot of people fooled. Many are too deep in denial to accept the fact that the man who married them, baptized their kids, officiated their grandkids First Holy Communions, a man they took orders from could be a real jerk. A real monster. It's understandable, no one wants to admit they were fooled. I understand, but not ok. WAKE UP EVERYONE! WAKE UP FELLOW CATHOLICS! DO NOT PLACE YOUR FAITH IN MAN, ANY MAN. WE CAN ONLY PUT OUR COMPLETE TRUST IN GOD! Harrison does not represent or define the Catholic faith! Our faith in God defines the Catholic faith! Harrison acts like he is the victim here. Actually, whether the allegations are true or not, he has victimized everyone in the community by exploiting his position and taking advantage of the many perks of being a big fish in small town. It is not what a priest is supposed to be. PRIESTS ARE SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIVES OF HUMILITY. Its a vow they all take.


I wish they had "like" buttons on this website. I am amazed at the people like us who are all of a sudden coming out of our hiding places. Surprisingly, we are not talking about his guilt or innocence over the assault allegations, we are all talking about his narcissism. I used to go to your parish. The canned homilies from Italy did it for me last summer. When I thought I could make some real money selling popcorn in the narthex, I decided it was time to switch parishes. By the way, the only other real narcissists I have known were always hiding some glaring moral problem.


Reading these article gave me chills: https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/satan


Rightfully so, Doctor. I have seen very little of Jesus in all the press coverage since it started.

A realist

Just because someone "preaches" something like Don't worry, does not always mean we are perfect and always listen to ourselves. Msgr Craig deserves to be treated at this point like an innocent man who stands accused and has the right to defend against his accusers. You ask where is his faith? He states and has stated unequivocally that his faith is strong. Also priests take a vow of celibacy and obedience. Where are you getting this humility vow? They also do not take vows of poverty! please educate yourself a bit before going on a rant. Maybe one of the reasons Fr. Craig got his "rock star" treatment as you call it, is because he made a real difference in countless lives. A jerk you call him - I am truly sorry you are filled with anger and resentment but not all of us worship at the altar of Craig, we do worship at the altar of Christ crucified, died and risen. However Fr Craig was a great teacher and example to many people of a person of faith - yes a human who has faults, show me someone who does not. He has said numerous times in his homilies that he struggles with many things , food, OCD, depression etc.... all that made him all the more human - not like some other priests who act more divine than human. Generally Anotherconcernedcatholic you sound a tad bit jealous of his popularity and perks.... a lot of people are not fooled, we know exactly who Msgr Craig Harrison is and we want him back at St Francis as our pastor as soon as possible! We are confident these charges are untrue and you will rise like the eagle in truth.


A woman kills her husband for molesting their daughter and this priest is accused in 3 different cities in Fresno diocese and people don't believe.... ok... WAKE UP BAKERSFIELD.


Overt Narcissist Traits 1 Compulsively attracts attention to himself, positive or negative. 2 Demands admiration and agreement and without it reacts with impatience or rage. 3 Charms and flatters with false intimacy those he wishes to impress. 4 Studies a room for the most vulnerable and attacks to display his superiority. 5 Is arrogant and haughty, especially with those he views as underlings. 6 Is given to rages far beyond normal anger, including physical violence. 7 Views others as competitors to be defeated and humiliate. 8 Ridicules, mocks, and denigrates others in a game of one upmanship. 9 Projects entitlement and expects special treatment. 10 Can turn on and turn off at will charm, interest, and attention depending on his motives.


Great description of the EXACT OPPOSITE of Monsignor Craig.




No, this is EXACTLY who the man is. Harrison is mean natured, a bully, and a superb manipulator hidden behind the facade of being a good man and a great priest. Sorry to disappoint but Harrison has been quite the self serving priest in many realms and you will see once more publicized. So sad that many people use to admire and adore him, but it was all based on his LIES. And at one point do his followers start concentrating on their faith again? Their real faith? At point, there's only a small minority of the Bakersfield population standing behind him and those doing so are going to be humiliated, embarrassed, and hurt for not being free thinkers. Remember, the diocese has stripped him of his faculties; an extreme act on their part. That means NO MASS which is one of the worst punishments a priest is given. Get a grip, the diocese KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING and just because there are 6-7 alleged victims that have came forward publicly doesn't mean that there aren't over 20 alleged victims in his personnel file. Personally, I'd be very interested in the results of a Psych Evaluation and Polygraph.


I beg to differ, Doctor, but there are thousands of people standing behind him; probably the majority of his parish of 20,000. If I were a psychologist, I would also be interested in the dynamics that cause a whole group of people to follow someone who is repeatedly displaying red flags. The latest is from the Richard Beene show on KERN, where Bob Price describes a "war room" in Harrison's house, full of charts outlining Harrison's "defense strategy." The thing that really bothers me the most, is that a Christian minister is displaying such vindictive behavior towards his accusers . VERY un Christ-like.

Fram Smith

Any statements Father Craig makes which are factually inaccurate or misleading can be used against him in a criminal investigation. He could be looking at a substantial prison sentence if he is convicted on the worst of the aligations against him. That he or his lawyer would speak in public is , simply put , a mistake. Why he didn't stay on self- imposed exile someplace far far away is a complete mystery to many of us.

Write Ideas


Michael Waskiewicz

Good luck with your defense, Harrison. Blame your and other predator Priests accusations on a shadowy "cabal" of Tridentine Mass devotees and victims. Little old ladies who wear veils and former altar boys who were raped are the real predators... I knew you and Lastiri back in your Merced days and I knew that someday both of you would make headlines...just not in the way you expected.


You're crazy if you think people in the Catholic Church want to drive out popular priests and stoke the flames of the molestation scandal. That will only lead to empty pews and collection plates. Believing in such a "cabal" is idiocy.


You obviously do no know know the Queens court. Stay tuned, the rest of the court will be revealed and the diocese is ready to turn their back on them too. With severe repercussion, which is not unfamiliar to the Queen.


I would have fired Humphrey long ago but he is a “person friend†of Fr. Craig (and probably working pro bono). Note to Fr. Craig: He’s not doing you any favors. And his comment regarding “doilies†is very out of line. It has nothing to do with this case and shows an animus he has against people in his own parish.


Humphrey's statements are the best thing that ever happened to attorneys suing the diocese over his narcissistic client's abuse of minors.


If I were to see Father Craig I would immediately go up to him and say Hi and tell him I totally support him and pray justice will prevail and he will be found innocent and move forward with his life. I believe he was positively received at the Court House and again at Mexicali. Just look at the public support he has received on social media.


I would tell the Monsignor and his lawyer to shut up about the ridiculous conspiracy theories that don't make any sense.


Once he goes to jail maybe you will come back and delete this comment. LOL.


And what would you do if it is proven that he is guilty?


Does this guy ever stop trying to sell himself? Lucky us! He’s returned to Bakersfield and is back in his splendor and grandiloquence lol! Anyone with half a mind knows that cherubs didn't sing nor did people fall at Craig's feet when he entered a Mexican restaurant. Again, Craig trying to promote himself so others will follow in his delusional "positive" accounting of his first public outing. The bottom line is this man has many flaws and continues to make mistake after mistake along with his solicitor. Hush boys, you look ridiculous with the conspiracy theories. Secret kingdoms, game of thrones and coincidentally there's always a fake cave in Craig’s tales; as in this article, the “bat cave†at Humphreys office. Sounds familiar to the cave in Rome which Craig supposedly spends days in “alone†praying and mediating, NOT! Craig Harrison has lied directly to his parishioners (in Mass) every fall when he returns from his European vacation! Check your facts people, it doesn’t happen because it isn’t possible, no cave access! Bottom line, if this man is talking, this man is lying. In addition, has it occurred to any of you that his adopted children were simply pawns? Think about it, children are lured with other children. Shame on anyone or any business who continues to support Craig Harrison. Personally, I will not be utilizing their businesses and I urge other individuals to do the same! The only thing useful in this story was a young lady who passed the bar. You go sister!




Take Craigs name off the menu at Woolgrowers... supporting a molester... !! Good for YOU!

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Again, you have been given NO PROOF of anything, yet you've already tried and convicted him. Keep showing your ignorance troll- go back down to mommy's basement and get back on her iPad... I'll be enjoying a meal at Woolgrower's this weekend- thanks so much for the recommendation!


"I have seen how he builds relationships with high ranking people in the community such as news media, law enforcement, attorneys, judges, business owners, politicians, and other wealthy individuals." "He also wants it to be clear the diocese is aggressively investigating all accusations, including things that happened to him in Bakersfield." No wonder why the Diocese hasn't contacted Craig, because he's being investigated.....


another pay troll

Concerned Citizen of Bakersfield

Yeah, he will be “welcomed†home by all his new friends in prison who will be just itching to make inquiries about all his interests in young boys...what a backwards stinking town this is! And that fat lawyer? Just as bad...


A concerned troll OMG


Let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Monsignor Craig Harrison will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened. Keep in mind that silence only hurts but by speaking up there is a chance for healing and protecting others today. Judy Jones, SNAP "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" 636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com


You and your generic comment are completely worthless. How dare you try to build an unfounded, skewed, inappropriate case on this poor man. You sound like you’re running a pathetic smear campaign. STFU and worry about your own issues Judy.


Are you disputing the fact that many Catholic priests are closeted homosexuals, child molesters, and laugh at their vows of celibacy? Why are you attacking a group who is fighting for victims of sexual assault?


Ms. Jones, while everyone can agree we need to end abuse of all kinds, how do you propose we protect due process and the presumption of innocence?


You just HAD to run this piece AGAIN? This is as tortuous as having to sit through Wagner's Ring Cycle twice in a row.


Well now, Sportfans . . . (including y ' all below herein). . . ---- I will say " J'Accuse " . . . if and when . . . and only then . . . as Donny issues an arrest warrant, the Diocese de-frocks Monsignor Harrison . . . and The Federal Government legalizes marijuana (cannabis) for recreational use. --- (Oh yeah . . . and . . . hopefully the " New Canadian " Bakersfield.com will quit messing with my personal-form of narrative/prosaic paragraphicals . . . & . . . diacritical accent/punctuation--markings with their ' Dumbo ' auto-correct software intervention) ---- Semper Fortis . . . !


Again, Harrison is no celebrity and has been accused of some pretty egregious offenses. So let's all just sit back and let this debacle play out. This article is a play on trying to sway public opinion. Harrison is not the victim here.


I do not know if Father Craig is innocent or guilty. I do know that he should re-think about retaining this attorney and the legal defense I am seeing thus far....


I agree 100%. The Monsignor may be a victim of slander and malicious rumor, but claiming ridiculous conspiracy theories cooked up by his attorney just makes him look guilty.


So Humphrey has a choice of two types of statements to make to the press. Statement 1 is that Father Craig is innocent of all charges and that he intends to make a vigorous defense. Statement 2 is that Father Craig is the victim of a “DaVinci Code†like cabal looking to remove him from the Priesthood. To me, statement 1 is dignified (befitting his client) and emphasizes his innocence. Statement 2 is something you say when you have no defense. It’s deflection. Once again, Mr. Humphrey is not serving the best interests of the client by making statements like this and his “Game of Thrones†reference of earlier. If that’s the path he’s taking then Father Craig should be looking for new career opportunities. On other takeaway - Father Craig should swallow his pride and call the Diocese. If it’s that important to him that they hear his side of the story then call and make an appointment.


Claiming ridiculous conspiracy theories cooked up by his attorney just makes him look guilty.


It's appalling how people will kiss the butt of whomever they see as the authoritarian figure. Be it priest or Vons cashier or the POTUS. .They are incapable or unwilling to think objectively and intelligently and instead, just mindlessly continue think the same thing, while victims fall along the wayside. This is one of the many ways religion dumbs down the people.


Regarding Kyle Humphrey’s remarks today: I’m a faithful Catholic Bakersfield woman who attends Saint Francis Church. I also veil during Mass. Kyle Humphrey’s remarks are wildly bizarre. Calling women who veil in this town “doily wearers,†(it’s been called a mantilla, or a veil, for thousands of years, dudeâ€â€as a Catholic you should know that) and suggesting that WE are somehow responsible for Father Craig’s recent troubles is grossly unjust and dangerous. He owes Bakersfield Catholic women who veil an immediate apology. Some of whom, by the way, are Craig supporters. His remarks puts women like myself in danger for intimidation in the Bakersfield community and is drastically “anti-woman.†Insodoing, Mr. Humphrey put a target on every Bakersfield women’s back who prefers to veil during Mass & attempted to make us an enemy in our own hometown. Why he would do this as a PR stunt is beyond irresponsible. Attacking faithful Catholics is not acceptable. Also, Humphrey insinuating that we veilers are somehow connected to SNAP further puts us at risk. Obviously, Father Craig supporters are going to see women who veil during Mass as some sort of threat because of Mr. Humphrey’s irresponsible, dangerous remarks. This will dramatically affect how we are received by fellow parishioners during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Saint Francis, in particular. Would the law firm be willing to apologize and put out a statement that women who veil are not a threat to Catholicism or to Father Craig (as Mr. Humphrey tried to insinuate)? This has been very difficult time for Catholics in our town and this attack by Humphrey upon Catholic women who veil during our holiest time of the week has turned a difficult time into a very dangerous one for women veilers. An immediate apology is in order. I will continue to wear my veil at Mass.


Steph, Im not a Catholic or a religious person in general. When I read this article, I didn't know what his 'doily' comment was referring to, but it was odd and I instinctively that he had just offended someone's beliefs and traditions. I doubt he will apologize and obviously I am in no position to apologize for him, but I will say I'm sorry that there are ignorant people out there that speak without thinking. Or worse, think it through and say it anyway. Wear your veil proudly if it means something to you and to heck with what other people think.


Veil away. I believe he is referencing those perfect "veilers" who sit in judgement of others, as lesser Catholics who choose not to veil. You know who you are. You don't lift your hands in worship. You don't sing. You get irritated if there is a slight giggle from the altar. You dislike the layperson as part of the mass. Faithful yes, to a point, but somehow missed living Matthew 7, verses 1 through 3. A target? Dramatically affect how parishioners receive you? Please don't be so narcissistic.. nobody cares about your veil. Connected to SNAP? Well, if you are part of the Queens court........


I’d simply say that even if all those charges were true of “judgmental veilersâ€â€â€it still doesn’t follow that someone of that disposition would try to harm Craig and commit a moral sin by bearing false witness. Humphrey is constantly demanding the benefit of the doubt while leveling wild accusations about othersâ€â€it’s baffling and reeks of insincerity. Someone close to Craig needs to advise him to procure a new attorney immediately. Humphrey’s smarmy attacks and remarks have repeatedly have been a PR nightmare, and could be readily argued that his choices have harmed Craig.


Claiming ridiculous conspiracy theories cooked up by his attorney just makes the Monsignor look guilty.


Only look guilty by paid trolls


A super troll leader


You call every one a troll but your comments are the very definition of troll.


Thank you for your most incisive comments on this topic. They seem to be consistently limited to 3 or 4 words and always use the word “trollâ€. Your responses are almost the textbook definition of troll.


I'm yawning at your comments.

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