Popular Bakersfield Catholic priest placed on leave

Local News

A popular Bakersfield Catholic priest was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Diocese of Fresno as allegations against him are investigated.

Father Craig Harrison declined to comment early Thursday morning, KGET reported.

Defense attorney Kyle J. Humphrey confirmed in a phone call he represents Harrison.

“At this time we are trying to determine the nature of these allegations and trying to get the church to provide us with any information at all because we have none,” Humphreys said. 

Firebaugh Police Department confirmed that an investigation into the incident is ongoing. Officers said that the victim alleges that he was inappropriately touched when he was between 16 and 17 years old.

On Friday, the Firebaugh Police Department released more details into the alleged assault.

Police say the victim was touched on three separate occasions when he was serving as an altar boy while priest of the St. Joseph Church in Firebaugh. 

No charges have been filed, due to the investigation being ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Firebaugh Police Department (559) 659-3051.

The diocese issued this statement Thursday morning:

“An allegation of sexual misconduct against Rev. Msgr. Craig Harrison was reported to diocesan personnel on Friday, April 12, 2019, by an adult male who was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. “On Monday, April 15, 2019, diocesan personnel reported the allegation in person to the Firebaugh Police Department. Later that day, the officer who initially received the report was able to contact and interview the complainant. “The Diocese of Fresno must defer to law enforcement regarding any additional information about the police department’s investigation. “Concurrent with the investigation being pursued by law enforcement, the Diocese of Fresno is conducting an internal investigation. “This includes notification to all faith communities where Msgr. Harrison has served, including: Our Lady of Mercy, St. Patrick’s and Sacred Heart, Merced St. Francis, Bakersfield St. Francis, Mojave St. Joseph, Firebaugh “As prescribed by diocesan policy, Msgr. Harrison has been placed on Paid Administrative Leave pending the outcome of the investigation being conducted by law enforcement and the diocesan investigation. “Anyone who has information that may be relevant to this case is asked to contact Officer Ricardo Monay of the Firebaugh Police Department at (559) 659-3051. “To speak with diocesan personnel regarding relevant concerns in any location in the Diocese please contact Teresa Dominguez or Cheryl Sarkisian at (559) 488-7400 or your local law enforcement agency.”

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