The Bakersfield Police Department received an anonymous allegation in 2002 of inappropriate contact by Monsignor Craig Harrison with a group of teen juveniles but determined the claims to be unfounded, the department said Friday in a news release.
Allegations of inappropriate contact between Harrison, the popular Bakersfield priest who is now facing new accusations, and several juveniles was reported to the BPD in April 2002 by a third-party, records show.
No one named in the 2002 letter could corroborate any of the allegations at the time, BPD said.
“Detectives determined these allegations to have been unfounded and the case was closed in May 2002,” the department said.
Reached late Friday, Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno communications director Teresa Dominguez said she wasn't aware of the past allegation investigated by BPD.
"The information is not familiar to me," she wrote in an email. "I will forward it to those conducting the investigation."
Dominguez said the diocese has received no new allegations at this time.
Harrison was placed on administrative leave by the diocese last week after a man came forward and claimed he had been inappropriately touched by the priest while an altar boy at a church in Firebaugh. Harrison was pastor at St. Joseph's in Firebaugh from July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1999, according to the diocese.
Since the initial allegation became public last week, a second man has come forward alleging abuse by Harrison at a church in Merced, and the diocese also disclosed an allegation was made about Harrison to Firebaugh Police in 1998. That accuser also reported the incident to the diocese in 2002, and the diocese investigated it and found it to be unsubstantiated.