NewsCovering Kern County


A lawsuit against California Catholic Bishops, California Catholic Conference could impact future cases

Posted at 7:21 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 15:27:15-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — New information is emerging on the ongoing investigation against Monsignor Craig Harrison.

Jeff Anderson and Associates, a law firm that handles priest abuse cases in numerous states, is currently filing a separate lawsuit that could impact future cases like this one.

Jeff Anderson tells 23ABC about the active lawsuit against the California Catholic Bishops and the California Catholic Conference. Which also includes the diocese of Fresno -- the same diocese that Harrison falls under.

A recent order issued by the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles, is allowing a sexual abuse survivor to proceed with the lawsuit against 11 California Catholic Bishops and the California Catholic Conference.

The purpose of the suit is to uncover what bishops knew about 600 plus clergy accused of child sexual abuse, according to the suit.

“Due to the recent revelations in Fresno, it's the underscore importance of us and the survivors make the Catholic bishops in California come clean, tell the truth, show what they know and uncover the cover up,” said Anderson.

The firm works with survivors of sexual abuse against clergy across the country especially in California.

“They have engaged in practices to avoid scandal and hold secret files and history of offenders know them and not reveal them to the police, public or perishers,” explained Anderson. “That’s why we have sued them including Fresno.”

23ABC reached out to the diocese of Fresno for a response on the lawsuit and they said "they have no comment".

23 ABCs, Lezla Gooden, sat down with Kyle Humphrey, criminal defense attorney for Harrison about the lawsuit and he says he's not surprised that there is a lawsuit.

“The problem with this is that they will be denied due process to simply assist people who have been accused and it ruins their names and its defamation,” said Humphrey.

Humphrey says he doesn’t agree the process the diocese of Fresno has taken with his accused client Harrison.

“A lot of the times they will do the investigation first and say let's get this done quickly and talk to people,” said Humphrey.