NewsCovering Kern County


Charges dropped against priest, former McFarland cross country runner

Posted at 10:13 AM, Jul 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-27 13:13:50-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Charges of inappropriate conduct with minors were recently dropped against former McFarland cross country runner Raul Diaz who was the long-time Dinuba catholic priest.

Diaz was facing charges of inappropriate conduct with minors but investigators closed the case.

Parishioners were informed during a recent Sunday service.

More than two months after he was placed on administrative leave, Father Raul Diaz appears poised to return to the pulpit.

"Everybody heard it, and they were applauding from the get-go I was saying there's nothing there," said Pablo Contreras of Dinuba.

Contreras is a St. Catherine parishioner and a long-time friend of Father Raul's who has stayed in contact throughout the whole process.

He said the last couple of months have been agonizing for both the accused priest and his followers.

"Poor guy I don't want to say he's been going coo-coo but the pressure on him and hopefully he slept well," said Contreras.

He said Father Raul was never told the specifics of the allegations against him or who may have made them.

"He tried to go back and think in the last few weeks when did I do something like that," said Contreras.

Meantime, in Kern County, Bakersfield detectives have closed their investigation into Monsignor Craig Harrison.

Back in May police received allegations of misdemeanor sexual battery by Harrison that occurred during the early '90s.

However, he will remain on leave with the diocese while Firebaugh and Merced Police continue their investigation.

Some information included in this article courtesy of ABC30 Fresno