Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno unveils list of 66 priests with “credible” sexual abuse allegations
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno on Friday released a long-awaited list of priests in its order who have allegedly sexually abused minors while serving in the Church.
The Diocese of Fresno was one of the Golden State’s few holdouts in publish his list of religious linked to the sexual abuse scandal that has resonated around the church since the explosive 2002 exit of the priests in Boston.
In sum, 37 priests, deacons or members of religious orders in the Diocese of Fresno have been implicated in credible allegations of sexual abuse while serving in the region.
Eighteen of the 24 incardinated priests in the diocese involved in credible allegations of sexual abuse are reported dead, the diocese said in its list.
Among the living, the list is headlined by the priest who has arguably captured the most public attention in the San Joaquin Valley: former Monsignor Craig Harrison of Bakersfield.
Harrison, who was inundated with allegations of sexual abuse spanning decades until his time at Firebaugh in 2019, has spent the last two years on administrative leave as law enforcement investigations fail. resulted in no charges due to a combination of lapsed limitation and insufficient evidence of claims.
In a statement, Harrison’s attorney Kyle Humphrey rejected publication of the list, arguing the diocese’s independent investigation barely resembled a full-blown investigation.
“They never conducted a legitimate investigation,” Humphrey told KGET station in Bakersfield. “They never interviewed (Harrison), allowed us to present witnesses or cross-examine the accusers.”
Despite this, Harrison faces two civil lawsuits over allegations against law enforcement.
The first claims Harrison sexually assaulted a 13-year-old at his last parish outpost, Bakersfield’s St. Francis of Assisi, in 1990.
The other claims Harrison assaulted a 15-year-old over a three-year period from 1993 to 1995 while on assignment at Firebaugh.
Harrison previously tried to sue the diocese and its main spokesperson for defamation related to public statements made following these cascading reports in 2019. The case was dismissed by a Fresno County judge in May. .
An additional 29 clerics were included in the list due to their ties to the Diocese of Fresno, but their allegations stem from incidents in other dioceses.
“We must do everything in our power to prevent cases of abuse from occurring anytime or anywhere here in the Diocese of Fresno,” Bishop Joseph V. Brennan wrote in a statement. . “The efforts of our safe environment training and education of all clergy, staff, volunteers, and children and youth, to recognize signs of abuse and the appropriate response to abuse of all types are of the utmost importance. “