On Facebook just after 11 a.m., Monsignor Craig Harrison vigorously defended his honor and wrote that he looked forward to his name being cleared.

He wrote: "Dear Friends,

"I just learned that I am on temporary administrative leave of my duties at St. Francis Parish, pending an investigation into allegations brought against me.

"I am heartbroken that I will not be able to fulfill the mission that God has given me. My entire priesthood has been devoted to service to God and His people. I have been honored to serve the people of the Central Valley for the past 31 years.

"I am also saddened that in today’s climate of fear, I have not been given any information to allow me to defend my honor and service to Christ. I do not know the motives of my accusers, any names, or the contents of any allegations against me.

"I will vigorously defend my honor from these allegations and look forward to my good name being cleared. Please keep me in your prayers during this trying time.

"Yours in Christ,

"Monsignor Craig Harrison"

(28) comments

missmaymay

Calling on God when you are guilty/??????????

Comment deleted.
missmaymay

Nothing like giving up his address lol He is so guilty!!! I wouldn't want to live near him!

missmaymay

Why doesn't anyone care about the victims?? I was kidnapped from a store when I was 9, I jumped out of the car and didn't tell my parents until I was in my twenties.. I thought I would get in trouble... it was a different time! I have been hit on by a priest from my church.. never said a word because I thought I would get in trouble.. This denial syndrome has to stop!!!!! I didn't talk about it til I was grown..It happened and the same GOD that watches us all Knows it!!!!

devlinj

I AM a parishioner in his parish. I read on one of the local tv station’s website that the allegation was from a young man in Firebaugh. Msgr. Craig became pastor at St. Francis Parish in 2000. Interesting... Last time I checked, we are in the United States of America and an individual remains innocent until PROVEN GUILTY. Give him, his family and parishioners their privacy. That is why we hire detectives and have a judicial system. This whole situation is very hard to believe and the work of the devil! YOU would want the same respect if YOUR feet were in his shoes. God bless our country and people who devote their lives to serve others.

devlinj

*The accusation is supposedly from an incident in 2003.

missmaymay

Unless you have experienced it you will not understand how hard it is to come forth. Sometimes it takes years to be able to talk about it.. I know from experience..

Copper

He was transferred to Firebaugh and then transferred back to Bakersfield. Any human deserves to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. But until the case is settled I believe administration leave is appropriate no matter how wonderful well liked and charismatic somebody is. I do hope he is innocent not just for himself but also for all the parishioners and community who love and admire him so very much.

Nevermind

You say let the investigation determine its validity, then you turn around and blame "the devil". People on blogs do not determine guilt, evidence does. Your take is the same as "concerned"........an opinion. The fact that the diocese found him innocent of an earlier charge does not impress me. The Church has hid criminals since its inception. Let's start with that stipulation. Hopefully Father Craig will be found innocent, but people's public persona doesnt always tell the story. Your opinion, "Concerned's" opinion and my opinion have no bearing, but we all have a right to our opinion. Luckily, our justice system is based on fact, not opinion.

dlc

When are the editors of this paper going to do their job? Craig said, "I have been horned to serve the people of the Central Valley for the past 31 years." It's obvious there's a typo in that quote. Because the quote is from social media and made by Father Craig himself, the reporter should insert [SIC] after the typo which is obviously intended to be honored. This rule of grammar is something my kids learned in the eighth grade writing their first research paper. Is it too much to ask for some professionalism from our local newspaper reporter? Shouldn't the editor have caught the reporter's error? I can't really blame Father Craig. He was likely very upset when writing the post and who hasn't been tripped up by spell check. Finally, those who want to condemn without due process, should think twice; would they want the same treatment? In our country, we are all innocent until PROVEN guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't know Father Craig. I've heard him on the radio. I'm not Catholic; I'm protestant, I don't care what religion, color or creed someone is, but I do care that they have due process when accused.

JR

Any adult, in any type of situation where they are with children of any age, for any reason, must never be alone with a child. If an adult is careless about this, then he or she is vulnerable to suspicion. So if an adult is not a predator and he or she is not just lazy or careless, then always making sure another adult is in the room with them is only smart and also protects the child from being seen as a predator's victim (even though they aren't) and could damage the child into adulthood.

dlc

Do you feel the same about teachers? Grade school teachers are alone with children all the time. Didn't we learn anything from the 1980's when people were falsely accused of this type of thing and it ruined their lives? Read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kern_County_child_abuse_cases

Copper

Teachers are in a classroom with 20 or more children . Not alone one on one behind closed doors . There should be large glass windows or some type of security cameras if another adult cannot be present with a child in any public institution. This can protect the adult from false allegations and a child from potential abuse by a public servant. Not unlike cameras on officers. Yes people are falsely accused and falsely convicted and others are never brought to justice . So doing all we can to protect all parties is just common sense and not hard to do.

Nevermind

Teachers DON'T put themselves in that position, that's what false allegations taught them. Some school districts are every bit as bad as the Catholic Church at pawning off bad eggs to other towns. If you have read this publication just in the last month, plenty of school employees have been brought to justice. NOBODY is immune from prosecution. If you are looking for unequal Justice, look at the traitorous thief Paul Manafort getting 4 years, and the homeless black guy in Alabama serving 5 years for selling a cop a 20 dollar bag of pot so he could eat.

Comment deleted.
JimmyDude

Maybe a bit more frazzled now that you basically just gave out his address.

Gary Crabtree

When is the Catholic Church going to "wake up" and allow their priests to marry? Paul puts it best in 1 Cor 7:8,9. I guess they don't believe in the book of Genesis either. God did not want man to live alone. .

Copper

The assumption that single people without a partner turn to molestation is wrong. A disproportionate number of molestors are married middle / upper class Caucasian males. The Catholic Church did not enforce a no marriage law until around 1100 ad in the Middle Ages. Mostly due to the fact they ddI not want to support the priests spouse and children or allow the spouse and children to inherit property. This rule can be overturned by any Pope.

missmaymay

The Catholic Church Has a history of this behavior. I know altar boys that have experienced it. You can quote all the history you want, this behavior is common!!!

missmaymay

That does not give them the right to molest not just boys but girls too. I was raised a Catholic I know what I am talking about!!!!

PSNolen

I say what most of his parishioners should be saying, and I'm not even Catholic: this man has been accused and has the right to due process and not "mob rule". Since I have many friends whose children attended St.Francis, or still are: this is a stunning accusation. It comes "out of the blue" for a good reason: Father Harrison has never had this kind of accusation aimed at him. He has been a long time trusted member of his church and community. I am not a member of his church, but even I know of his reputation: kind, respectful, and charitable. I've heard a lot of bad things about some community leaders in Bakersfield, but not Father Harrison. And I'm a sceptic by nature, and an atheist by choice. But this man deserves the benefit of doubt until he is allowed to defend himself.

JimmyDude

Amen

Muhammad Fatwa al Jihad

The allegation is from Alpaugh, where he was before Bakersfield. Father Craig has been a wonderful asset to the community of Bakersfield

Muhammad Fatwa al Jihad

Firebaugh, not Alpaugh. My mistake.

Nevermind

He HAS had previous allegations. Unless someone lynches him, the mob and opinion have no bearing. If he is exonerated.....great.....if he isnt......prison.

Copper

Another one? Always thought it was a little odd he adopted young men from troubled families. Saint or predator? Heard he also had a habit of “counseling” young children with door closed and no other adult present. Really parents? Other priest in diocese always had a parent present when counseling children Things that make you say hmmm. Hope he’s not guilty but if he is ,will we truly be shocked?

dlc

Wow! I hope your reputation, livelihood and freedom never hangs in the balance based on anecdotal evidence and he-said-he-said gossip and innuendo.

missmaymay

I believe the victims. It is not easy to put it out there that you were molested.. I was a Catholic I believe the victims.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.