Signs of support for accused priest Monsignor Craig Harrison are beginning to pop up around Bakersfield.

At least 200 corrugated plastic signs stating "We support Monsignor Craig Harrison" were given out recently at the store on 18th Street where his adopted son works, prompting an order for 100 more.

The black-and-white signs, measuring 12 inches by 18 inches, have been posted in front of at least a few local businesses since they were first made available last weekend.

One such business is H. Walker’s Mens Clothing & Accessories on 17th Street. Owner Tracy Kiser said she wanted to show her support for a friend and customer.

"We're just proud of who he is and what he's done for our community," Kiser said of Harrison.

The signs were ordered and paid for by local lawyer Dan Raytis, a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, where Monsignor Harrison worked as pastor until being placed on leave in April over allegations he sexually abused a minor while serving as a priest in Firebaugh. Other accusers have since come forward making similar accusations against Harrison.

Raytis said he and his family alone came up with the idea of having the signs printed. He said the signs speak for themselves.

"We love Craig and we support him and we'd love to have him back as a pastor at our church," he said.

Roy Keenan, one of Harrison's adopted sons, said he agreed to place Raytis' signs for anyone to come pick up outside Lucas Silver, the jewelry store where he works. They went fast, he said.

"The first 100 went quick, the second 100 went quick," he said.

A representative of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which placed Harrison on leave while it investigates the accusations against him, declined to comment.

A group representing victims abused by priests issued a statement by email calling on the diocese's leader, Bishop Joseph Vincent Brennan, to "rein in" the "well-intentioned but hurtful flock."

"We beg Bakersfield citizens to act more responsibly and less callously, by refusing these signs," David G. Clohessy, former director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wrote. "We ask Monsignor Harrison's supporters to ask themselves, 'What if it was my kid who was hurt here?' and 'Will publicly endorsing Monsignor Harrison make it harder or easier for victims of other accused abusers step forward?'"

Harrison's primary lawyer, Kyle Humphrey, said the signs are just the latest and most visible indication of the continuing support for a man who is revered in the community.

"Those of us that love and have confidence in Craig, we remain supportive and quietly respectful," he said. "Everywhere he goes people come up to him."

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at Bakersfield.com for free newsletters about local business.

(47) comments

ConcernedCatholic

Quietly respectful HUMPHREY? OKKKK buddy boy.

Veritas

CC you are a little comical and a little hypocritical at the same time. I have read your comments on Craig and agree with some of your opinions, but I wonder if you are truly catholic. You have judged and convicted him in what you have written. A devout catholic would not do that. Might be time for you to hang it up on this subject, go to confessional(if you are catholic), and wait for justice to be served. And just a few pieces of advice for both sides of this situation: Pray for all involved and stop going public until the investigations are complete and charges are filed or not. The victims may truly be victims or the accused may truly be innocent, either way someone is getting hurt by your words or actions.

Eauchiche

Veritas, EXCUSE me? Harrison has gone public as much or more than anybody in the comment section. Give me a break!!!

Veritas

Eauchiche, you’re EXCUSED. If you would have read my post a little more clearly you would have noticed that I wrote, “both sides of the situation”, which obviously means Craig also should not be going public. Hope that clears it up for you, but I suspect it probably will not. I will no longer comment or read this thread, so respond back if it makes you feel better.

ConcernedCatholic

Didn't ever read about a priest that was accused by 5 men have his family do his dirty work for him by making yard signs. Is he running for office in Bakersfield? Never ever heard of a priest adopting 8 sons before either.

ConcernedCatholic

Why does an innocent man need 4 attorneys? PROBABLY because he's being accused in 3 different towns. The Diocese doesn't remove innocent men, they have to have a credible accusation to remove a priest.

ConcernedCatholic

Harrisonites unite! How many of you are still going to Mass since he has been removed? Do you have your faith in Christ or Craig?

Eauchiche

I love being a Catholic. I love the Catholic faith. I love living for our Lord Jesus Christ. If Craig Harrison and the entire travesty surrounding him were my only example of Catholicism, I would become something else. There are genuine Jesus lovers at St. Francis who are doing their best in spite of the unhappy circumstances they find themselves in. Then, there are the Harrisonites who keep writing your checks and planting signs in your yards. Some of you could be facing your own mortality within months. As you breathe your last, it will be too late to realize that Craig Harrison couldn't save you. Facing an eternity with nothing more than what you did for Craig Harrison, is fearful indeed.

stealth4

Snap has been in numerous ambulance chase lawyer cases like this in the past-- the Church has $$, Snap wants $$

ConcernedCatholic

Which victims are supported by snap?? NONE of them....

SNAP lies

All of them!

ConcernedCatholic

Oh yeah... where's that proof? I'd like to see it. No where in any news stories have I heard of all of these 5 men being represented by SNAP.

SNAP lies

Amen

ConcernedCatholic

"Those of us that love and have confidence in Craig, we remain supportive and quietly respectful," -Kyle Humphrey COMING FROM THE MAN WHO CALLED ALL VICTIMS PIGS

SNAP lies

Most of these bloggers are SNAP idiots who lie on their posts. They pay the alleged victims with 0 evidence! So behind the lead murder story putting up signs is the next important news of the day-Comeon Californian print stories of community interest.

ConcernedCatholic

Humphrey is a real gem isnt he..............

ConcernedCatholic

Those colors are the same colors that St. Francis church uses and the Diocese has removed him as the pastor, he is no longer there and has no control over the parish. He is still trying to manipulate the staff there, which is bad news for them because he's never coming back and those that have posted bad things about the Bishop or spoke against the Diocese will not look good on a resume when they are looking for another job.

IMO

CC you are sure fired up and regurgitate media information like it is Gospel, 100% unbiased or even accurate. Manipulating staff? If you have such real knowledge then take it where it can be addressed. Must have a lot of time on your hands. On a sabbatical or just AWOL? How is the queen these days?

ConcernedCatholic

Oh trust me I only say facts. Yes the Diocese has been notified thank you very much!!! The Queens cabal is doing just fine!! :)

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Really? So, you are involved in the investigation? The only "facts" we are aware of are the number of accusers- that's it. Not sure where you are conjuring the rest of your "facts".

ConcernedCatholic

ACTUALLY yes I am gene!

ConcernedCatholic

I want to know how many of his closest supporters write him personal checks.

SNAP lies

Only SNAP and their attorneys write checks!

ConcernedCatholic

OK ask any business owner that goes to St. Francis who writes the checks to Craig!! LOLLLL

ConcernedCatholic

What will happen when your business find out that he DID in fact do these things and will no longer be a priest again? The Diocese is investigating allegations along with 3 different law enforcement agencies... if I were his supporters I wouldn't take those lightly. Might lose some business by putting a sign in front of your business and the world will know that you supported a predator. Then you just shamed victims but you don't care at all because he 'did something nice for your family'.... ONLY to get your money. Wake up.

ConcernedCatholic

How much have the business owners donated to St. Francis itself vs. Fr. Craig Harrison? Are you writing personal checks to him or the church???

REMUDA

(SNAP?) . . . issued a statement by email calling on the diocese's leader, Bishop Joseph Vincent Brennan, to "rein in" the "well-intention'd but hurtful flock." (intentionED--sic corrected) ----- " Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. . . while it investigates the accusations against him, declined to comment." ----- To elicit such a response by . . . all these same "usual suspects" HEREIN BELOW . . . who only show more of their contempt for the 'faith' . . . and the law . . . than logic . . . OR THE LAW ALLOWS . . . only reflects upon their ignoramus 'derangement syndrome' over these UNPROVEN AND UNSUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINTS! (Yes 'SNAP Judy Jones'. . . and that includes YOU . . . !--- Donny, are ya listening . . . and watching?)

Athanasios

It was kind of quiet on the Fr. Harrison front. Not sure what the upside of these signs is other than some want to make sure everyone knows what side they are on. That’s their choice, but there will be some that take this as refuting the accusers. We all have to deal with the issues that come with taking a stand. Seems to me that Fr. Harrison would have welcomed their support just as much if they did it via phone call, visit, or email....

ConcernedCatholic

If I was an innocent man I wouldn't want my supports doing this kind of thing... in fact, I would have been quiet a long time ago and dissuaded anything like this to happen. Horrible... just horrible for this town.

SNAP lies

Ok SNAP rep you are keeping this alive because you have nothing. You’re a joke

ConcernedCatholic

Why is Craig keeping a PR battle alive??? No reason to, he's not running for office he's being INVESTIGATED by the Attorney General and 3 different police departments.

REMUDA

Gee whiz . . . ! Did I miss something in the news . . . again? It's been so long since the last "SNAP" JUDGMENT . . . IN THESE PAGES . . . ! Was Monsignor Craig convicted . . . of something . . . somewhere ! ???

ConcernedCatholic

I can't understand anything you ever write... all the .... ..... ....

IMO

Such accurate reporting. Can't even get the color of the sign correct...even with a photo.

SNAPJudy

To the Catholics who support Fr Harrison. We hope that you will support your friend in private. Doing this so public only hurts the victims and scares them. Judy Jones, SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

REMUDA

" . . . support your friend in private. Doing this so public only hurts the victims and scares them. Judy Jones, SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests." ???? ----- Really . . . ! A SNAP "spokesperson" (in comments here) espousing in private. ------"IN PRIVATE" . . . !???

ConcernedCatholic

For all you Craig supporters, what are you going to do if he is guilty? Please answer that for me. If it comes that he is guilty and you and your businesses supported him until waiting until 'innocent until proven guilty', then no one in Bakersfield should support your business ever again. Allegations are overwhelming... come one people put two and two together. If you run businesses how can you be so blind?

ConcernedCatholic

Is he running for mayor of Bakersfield or accused of touching underage boys in 3 different cities? Merced, Firebaugh, and Bakersfield...

JR

The majority of people will do and say whatever they need to, to protect their own private individual comfort and status quo. If that means defending and publicly supporting a priest (or anyone) accused of molesting minors, then so be it. In other words, the safety and protection and future of children, their's or others, is far less important to them than themselves. These supporters hide behind the excuse and cliche of "innocent until proven guilty" or "he's done so much for the community" [meaning them personally, so it doesn't matter whose lives he ruins or that he has committed a criminal act]. This priest should be treated as any other person with similar accusations. No better. No worse. But to come out and support him before the jury is in, demonstrates a very closed and narrow minded attitude toward this very sad situation.

Stating the obvious

Well said Jimmydude

JimmyDude

Thanks! H Walker Mens Clothing....got it! Who else wants to proudly repulse potential customers?

Churchillis1

I support justice. If he’s innocent, let justice be done. If he’s guilty, let justice be done. Let. Justice. Be. Done.

JimmyDude

Not saying he's guilty, not at all, how would I know? Still, I promise I wont step foot into ANY business that has this sign in front. Lets show support and sympathy if and when he is found innocent of those charges. Think twice, business owners - I'm sure I'm not the only one that will avoid your place if you show support for an accused child molester, no matter how popular he may be.

ConcernedCatholic

I agree I will not step foot in front of any business with this sign in front. This will go down in Bakersfield history, be on the right side business owners, allegations are overwhelming. You will be known as supporters of him if he is removed by the Diocese of Fresno as a priest.

JimmyDude

I agree with you CC, but even more to the point is that people, and especially businesses, shouldn't be picking sides in a case like this. Like Churchillis says, let justice be done.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

I'm sure your business will be missed... LOL

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Jimmy, I find myself agreeing with many of your comments more than I disagree, but I think you're missing the key fact- he's been accused. There has been no trial, no evidence (not that there will be, but it has to be said) and everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence. This is a slippery slope here- do we really want to have people removed from jobs, volunteer groups and/or other associations via accusations alone? I know if you or I were (wrongly) accused, we'd be wanting to scream our innocence from the rooftops. Like you, I have no idea what happened- we are all human and nobody is infallible. However, if we start living in a world where you can be punished without due process, it's going to shake everyone's civil rights to the core...

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