After Years of Silence, Fresno Bishop Now Says Defrocked Priest Allegedly Abused 7 Minors

The bishop of Fresno, California is breaking his years-long silence about a notorious Bakersfield priest, revealing he may have abused at least seven children.

Bishop Joseph Brennan had a letter read aloud at all parishes over the weekend giving more details about the defrocked Msgr. Craig Harrison, a popular priest of nearly 40 years in Bakersfield. Harrison continues to officiate at weddings, funerals and lead spiritual retreats, in spite of a Vatican decree of laicization ordering him to cease leading such events.

“The diocese of Fresno has consistently had a ‘no comment’ response through all of this,” the letter explains. “If you found that frustrating, then just remember that I share that frustration with you.”

The bishop goes on to reveal the number of credible allegations against Harrison: “It might be helpful for you to know that the diocese of Fresno did receive allegations of misconduct involving seven minors against Craig Harrison. The Diocesan Review Board reviewed all available information regarding each allegation and arrived at the opinion that the allegations were credible.”

Multiple men came forward in 2019 accusing Harrison of abuse when they were teens, leading to three separate criminal investigations by law enforcement in Bakersfield, Firebaugh and Merced County, where the alleged abuse took place.

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