Monsignor Craig Harrison

Monsignor Craig Harrison, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, is shown in this Californian file photo.

A second man has accused Monsignor Craig Harrison of sexual misconduct.

Teresa Dominguez, communications director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, said Saturday a young man contacted the diocese on Thursday alleging "inappropriate behavior."

Dominguez said the diocese requested the man report the incident right away to police in Merced and diocese officials plan to follow up with him in the coming days.

The diocese has been reporting matters to law enforcement in the community where the alleged abuse took place. Harrison previously served at three churches in Merced prior to coming to Bakersfield in 1999. 

KERO-TV 23 in Bakersfield reported that the Merced Police Department said a man told authorities Friday that Harrison inappropriately touched him when he was a boy in 1988.

Merced Police Department told KERO it is conducting an investigation for misdemeanor sexual battery. 

The Fresno diocese placed the popular local priest on paid leave Thursday after receiving an allegation on April 12 from a man who said he was abused by Harrison as a minor at a church in Firebaugh. The news shocked the local community where Harrison is immensely popular and revered by parishioners and many others throughout the community. 

Kyle Humphrey, a local attorney and parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church who is representing Harrison, responded to the second accusation saying:

"I am not surprised ... It is predictable in high-profile clergy abuse allegation that people view the Catholic Church as an entity with deep pockets and these individuals see potential financial gain."

He continued: "When someone comes forward to allege an incident from 31 years ago, their motivation is suspect. These people are committing character assassination on a good man."

"We will continue to fight against these false allegations and we will restore Monsignor Craig's good name and see him reinstated to his rightful place as pastor of Saint Francis parish."

Harrison posted a message to his supporters on Facebook Saturday afternoon, writing: 

"I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. I have received hundreds of texts, emails and calls. As I cannot respond to each of you individually, I want you to know how much your prayers have uplifted me during this difficult time. My prayers are with all of you and my faith in Christ in unshaken."

The Californian's Joseph Luiz contributed to this report. Stacey Shepard can be reached at 661-395-7417.

(10) comments

missmaymay

Sorry but he is guilty.. I was raised a Catholic in Santa Barbara.. This behavior is common. It has been going on far tooooooo long!!!!!

Michael Waskiewicz

I knew this Priest back at his first Parish in Merced. We are nearly the same age and back then we were in our late 20s. I have to say I tried but I never liked him. I found him arrogant, elitist, a social climber...his good works were always done with an eye towards with what they could gain him. I had no social standing then and as such was nothing to him. I guessed him to be a "repressed" but as to the charges I think he would be far too cunning to let himself be put into a position such as that. He is now the 2nd Merced Priest accused of misconduct, The other being the thoroughly reprehensible Lastiri who most unfortunately baptized my child.

Comment deleted.
Tony Tee

Open our ears and eyes, our hearts and our lives, that we may in these coming days be able to do some work of justice and peace for You, Lord. Amen.

Tony Tee

The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
I pray that the winds of justice continue in this trying time.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end this challenge with Monsignor Harrison;
For You have already given us the resources with which to settle our worldly affairs, if we would only use them wisely. [Gen. 1:26]

May Your Spirit Presence help all concern to speak the truth with courage; to share truthfully.

May Your Spirit Presence guide EVERYONE concerned on the way of honest dialogue, fairness, resolution and may the Healing Light prevail for all concerned.

I release my word into the Universe knowing all the spiritual resources are available for maintaining honesty, truthfulness and the Healing Light. And so it is. Amen.

chargersfan

Guilty or not, you had to know there would be others making the same claim. It is the only way to get a pay day.

REMUDA

Stand by, Shipmates . . . how 'bout, "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH" (Nicholson) . . . Sometimes kinda goes both ways, eh . . . !
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(https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Priests-Falsely-Accused-Stories/dp/1466425334)
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"[T]he chilling tale of how decades-old claims of abuse by Catholic priests become 'credible' ... David F. Pierre tells the sordid story the mainstream media won't touch. It rings of both truth and justice. I highly recommend Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories." - Ryan A. MacDonald, Spero News columnist
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(Comment from site)
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"How many people, including faithful Catholics, are aware that priests are denied the right to review their own personnel files, denied the right to confront their accuser, denied the right to defend themselves, denied basic Constitutional rights that the rest of us enjoy?"
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The truth ALWAYS OUTS . . . one way . . . or the 'other . . . !
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Semper Fortis . . . !

JSmith

Hey Vavoom and Concerned I hope and pray if someone accuses you, you get the presumption of innocence and your day in court to face your accuser. Let the truth be uncovered bad or good, let justice be served.

REMUDA

‘" . . . One retired F.B.I. agent who worked with me to investigate many claims in the Clergy Cases told me, in his opinion, about ONE-Half of the claims made in the Clergy Cases were either entirely false [or] greatly exaggerated.’”
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"Other culprits identified by Pierre adding to the abuse frenzy are plaintiffs’ attorneys and Church insurance carriers. Attorney fees, which are usually up to forty percent on a settlement have made pursuing allegations, even false ones, very lucrative for this new breed of ambulance chasers."
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https://www.catholicleague.org/bogus-charges-against-priests-abound/

Vavoom

for 1000: protects predators, manipulates the vulnerable, wealthiest institutions
Answer: what is a church

Tony Tee

Let the world know what you live for...not what you fall for!

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