The law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates announced that on Wednesday it will file two lawsuits against former Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno for ignoring and concealing his alleged sexual abuse against minors.
Attorney Jeff Anderson says two new alleged victims recently came forward. The new lawsuits were filed Tuesday in Alameda County.
Attorneys stated that one of the alleged victims reported their abuse to Firebaugh PD. They would not say what local law enforcement or department the second man reported their alleged abuse.
So far this is what we know about the two new alleged victims:
Doe 429 named Harrison as his offender in the lawsuit. The victim says he was a parishioner at Firebaugh and was between the ages of 15-17 years old when the abuse happened from 1993 to 1995.
Doe 430 also named Harrison as an offender. The suit also stated that the abuse began at the age of 13-14 while Harrison was a pastor at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Bakersfield around 1990.
The attorneys both alleged victims claim that Harrison repeatedly violated them on several occasions and they are now in their 40s and 50s.
Harrison resigned from his role as a Catholic priest back in February 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.
Three other men came forward shortly after the first allegation.
Harrison was put on paid leave in April of 2019 due to the claims.
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 regarding the sexual misconduct had been made in an article. According to Harrison, the bishop requested that he drop the lawsuit filed against the diocese.
Harrison's attorney Kyle Humphrey responded to the new suit, stating, "Craig is innocent and hopefully we'll actually able to cross-examine and conduct depositions against people who are making these accusations. Let's take their statements under oath."
Another statement released on Harrison's behalf also stated:
From the second we heard the false claims against Monsignor Craig three years ago, we suspected they were leading up to a lawsuit. We even identified this particular lawyer as someone who would likely be involved. So, while it is devastating for Monsignor Craig to have to continue to give his time and emotional energy to false claims; we now have proof that our suspicions were correct. We said from the very beginning that this was always, ultimately about money. It is shameful but not surprising and is just another opportunity for us to once again demonstrate Monsignor Craig's innocence.
Anderson issued a report about two years ago that names over 40 priests in the Diocese of Fresno that they believe have allegedly abused children.