FRESNO, Calif. (KERO) — On Thursday, Monsignor Craig Harrison stepped down as a priest at St. Francis Church nearly two years after a man in April 2019 reported to Firebaugh Police in Fresno County that he had been inappropriately touched as a teenager by Harrison.
Harrison addressed the media regarding the allegations against him along with the lawsuit he filed against the Diocese of Fresno. Harrison said that he feels stepping down was one of his only options and he is ready to start living his life again.
“I am announcing that I am resigning as a pastor at St Francis Parish,” said Harrison.
On Friday, the Diocese of Fresno issued a statement regarding Harrison's resignation, stating that the resignation of a priest "whether requested by the cleric or by a bishop, is always a difficult and even a sad moment in the Church. It is accompanied by a broad spectrum of emotions and much prayerfulness on the part of all concerned. This is true not only before the process has begun, but also long after its conclusion. God help us all."
The statement said that Harrison's resignation was accepted by the Diocese, but would not give any further statements on the matter.
After months of investigations, no criminal charges were filed by Fresno County District Attorney’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, or in Merced County where three separate sexual misconduct allegations were made.
In February of 2020, Harrison filed a defamation lawsuit against the Diocese of Fresno as well as their former spokesperson, Teresa Dominguez after statements, Harrison did not agree with regarding the sexual misconduct, had been made in an article.
You can read the full statement below: