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Bakersfield police release report on Monsignor Craig Harrison investigation

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 17:12:20-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Bakersfield Police Department has released its full report on the investigation into alleged sexual misconduct allegations against Monsignor Craig Harrison.

The nearly 200 pages of police reports detail many of the same allegations already described by alleged victims through their attorneys, giving a window into how many leads Bakersfield police tracked down to make their decision not to file charges against the well known priest.

Dozens of conversations with witnesses and alleged victims are detailed in the Bakersfield police report, stemming from two allegations made against Harrison, dating back to 2002, and most recently in 2019.

The conversations include friends of both the alleged victim and Harrison, the alleged victims siblings, and even Harrison's adopted sons.

Included in the report is an explanation from former Bakersfield resident Ryan Dixon, who joined the church, now known as Brother Justin Gilligan, who publicly stated that he witnessed inappropriate touching and sexual advances from Monsignor Craig.

The report clarifies that Gilligan was talking about tickling, pinching on the legs, and rubbing on the chest. According to investigators these do not meet the elements of a crime. 23ABC reached out to Gilligan for comment Tuesday night, but as of news time we had not heard back.

The investigative documents also detail an alleged victim was close with Harrison when he first came to St. Francis around 1989. The alleged victim claims inappropriate behavior started when he was around 13. The Monsignor gifted him a car when he was 16 years old.

When Bakersfield police interviewed the alleged victim, investigators could not find any evidence that would corroborate his claims.

Harrison has served the Catholic Church since the late 1980s. He's been at St. Francis in Bakersfield for the past 20 years.

The Bakersfield investigation was one of three investigations involving accusations against Harrison. The other two, in Firebaugh and Merced, are still ongoing. As of Tuesday, Harrison is not able to serve in his role at St. Francis.