NewsCovering Kern County


Monsignor Craig Harrison says he won't drop defamation lawsuit against Diocese of Fresno

Posted at 2:26 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 17:26:29-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Monsignor Craig Harrison's attorney announced Tuesday that his client refuses to drop a defamation lawsuit against The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno and the Diocese spokeswoman stemming from statements made against Harrison in a 2019 article in KQED.

Harrison's attorney Kyle J. Humphrey said his client will continue with the lawsuit "despite threats of retaliation and punishment."

Humphrey said the lawsuit was filed over defamatory statements made by the Diocese spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez in a KQED article regarding sexual misconduct allegations. In the article, Dominguez is quoted from an email saying she believed the allegations.

In a press release, Humphrey said that he and his client "believe Bishop [Joseph] Brennan has become so personally involved in this case, that he will never willingly provide Monsignor Harrison any fairness or due process."

This lawsuit is just one of many filed after law officials declined to file criminal charges against the pastor stemming from allegations of sexual abuse. Harrison, pastor of Bakersfield’s St. Francis of Assisi Church, filed a second slander lawsuit over sexual misconduct accusations made against him by alleged victims.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in Kern County Superior Court, Monsignor Harrison claimed that around May 21 and July 31 the defendant(s) "negligently and maliciously published and re-published false, defamatory, libelous, and slanderous statements including allegations of sexual misconduct".

Humphrey said he will hold a press briefing Wednesday morning to discuss the status of the defamation suit further.