Monsignor Craig Harrison

Monsignor Craig Harrison

The Fresno County District attorney will not file criminal sexual assault charges against Monsignor Craig Harrison even though the allegations seemed credible to investigators because the statute of limitations has expired, the office said in a news release Friday.

"Delayed reporting is not uncommon in sexual assault cases but it can limit the ability to criminally charge and prosecute offenders," the news release said.

No details were given by the Fresno DA on the allegations investigated other than to say they happened in the 1990s. The Californian previously reported that two separate accusations against Harrison were made to the Firebaugh Police Department.

"Of course we're happy to get the last of the nonsense done with," said Harrison's attorney, Kyle Humphrey.

The investigation into the Fresno County cases was the last of three law enforcement inquiries undertaken since sexual misconduct accusations against Harrison surfaced last year. Bakersfield Police and Merced Police also conducted investigations that resulted in no charges being filed.

The Fresno DA was the only agency to say the allegations against Harrison appeared credible.

Humphrey questioned the integrity of the investigation, however, noting the Fresno DA's office never interviewed Harrison about the allegations.

In April, Harrison was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Fresno after it announced it had received a report of sexual misconduct that allegedly happened three decades ago. Following that announcement, the diocese received more allegations and the alleged victims were instructed to file police reports to the agency where the alleged abuse occurred.

The diocese is also undertaking its own investigation of Harrison, which has not yet been completed.

"It is now up to the Diocese of Fresno to act on Msgr. Harrison," the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement released late Friday. "Given the carefully worded statement from the Fresno County District Attorney and the multiple other victims who have come forward with their own stories of abuse perpetrated by the Monsignor, we hope Catholic officials in Fresno do not simply wash their hands of the situation and restore the priest to active ministry."

Harrison has denied all the allegations made against him. He fought back by filing two defamation lawsuits last year — one against Steven Brady, a Catholic activist, and another against Ryan Dixon, who worked alongside Harrison at St. Francis Church in Bakersfield. A third lawsuit is expected to be filed soon against Teresa Dominguez, an employee of the Fresno diocese, said Harrison's attorney Craig Edmonston on Friday.

(11) comments

Athanasios

“"Of course we're happy to get the last of the nonsense done with," said Harrison's attorney, Kyle Humphrey.”

Humphrey going out over his skis again. Finding the allegations to be “credible” does not mean guilty, but it is also not exoneration. And, the Fresno County DA is operating under a different standard of evidence (guilt beyond a reasonable doubt) than the Fresno Archdiocese (basically, preponderance of the evidence along with considering the potential to be sued if something should happen in the future).

So, save the victory lap for now. The Monsignor may or may not be out of the woods. The Fresno Archdiocese has to consider the credibility of the victims that have come forward without concern about the statute of limitations.

All Star

You are confused. Let me clarify it for you. Kyle Humphrey is a criminal attorney. He was only handling the criminal side, of which nothing came of it. That means there is no longer any possible criminal charges possible against Craig Harrison. So that "nonsense" is done with. A civil suit or what the church does has nothing to do with criminal law. Hope this helps.

REMUDA

Concur . . . and:

"Fresno DA: Allegations against Harrison 'appear credible' but charges won't be filed"

Are we actually past the criminal court (DA Smittcamp). . . with this headline? Is the civil court immune from these 'allegations' . . . as we often see new criminal charges emanate from testimony under oath (think DC)? Is this 'court of public opinion'--Bako.com & others--garnering "credible" evidence from DA Smittcamp thereby continuing its effect on civil courts and the 'private' Fresno Diocese . . . ?

REMUDA

Ms. Smittcamp . . . welcome to the burgeoning "Friends Of Craig" club . . . as you "ethically (?) and aggressively (?)". . . continue to expand upon (instead of "No Comment") . . . and add fuel to . . . the denigration and defamation of Monsignor Harrison . . . without cause . . . !

(Fresno County District Attorney, Lisa A. Smittcamp) >> Welcome to the District Attorney's website. "The mission of the Fresno County District Attorney's Office is to pursue justice and improve public safety for the people by ethically and aggressively prosecuting those who commit crimes."

'Whuuuuutttt . . . ?"

REMUDA

& More . . .

"We develop innovative and collaborative solutions for the county while protecting the rights of victims and witnesses" (. . . while ignoring the rights of unindicted suspects?)

"We also work with community partners, focusing on keeping our children in school (?) and preventing crime in our community."

(Don't parents have the responsibility to keep their kids in school?)

Django

When he is back in the pulpit, I will be convinced he got away with it.

alexkelley

ANYTHING can be made to “Appear Credible” in the eyes of the law, especially constituent-driven “cause celeb” and career-advancing high profile and “front page” news cases, and moreover promoted by over-zealous self-righteous, hypocritical knee-jerk special interest groups looking to generate free press for their hyper-zealot witch hunts. At EVERY turn to date, despite the constant onslaught by these groups and greedy lawyers, Monsignor Harrison has been vindicated, exonerated & cleared of absurd charges & spurious accusations. It’s past time for the Church, the public and REASONED law enforcement & city leaders to step up and make clear these groups will start being held financially and legally liable for their lies and abuse of our justice systems.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Not sure how you can have a "credible" investigation without interviewing the accused?

All Star

Really? You obviously have no idea how criminal investigations work. Stick to something you know.

Moardeeb

It's not fair to say we think he did it but won't or can't prosecute. That's bs. That's convicting him in the court of public opinion without a trial.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Yeah, really. Interviewing (read: Interrogation) of the suspect is standard procedure in the information gathering part of the investigation.

I'm not making an argument of insufficient evidence- law enforcement generally refers a case to the DA when they determine there is enough evidence to move forward.

I'm just saying that part of the investigation should've included statements given by the accused and I'm wondering why in the Fresno DA's case, this was not done?

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