NewsCovering Kern County


Second man accuses Monsignor Craig Harrison of inappropriate contact

Posted at 2:24 PM, Apr 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 11:59:54-04

MERCED, Calif. — A second man has accused Monsignor Craig Harrison of inappropriate contact.

According to the Merced Police Department, a man told authorities yesterday that Monsignor Harrison had inappropriately touched him when he was a boy in 1988.

Merced PD said there is currently an investigation for misdemeanor sexual battery.

The Diocese of Fresno, which oversees Bakersfield Catholic churches, confirmed with 23ABC that a second man came forward with allegations against Monsignor Harrison.

According to the Diocese, the second alleged victim contacted the Diocese on Thursday, April 25, to report the allegations. The Diocese said they told the man to contact police.

According to Diocese Chancellor Teresa Dominguez, the Diocese is meeting with the second alleged victim on Monday, April 29.

The Diocese said they will be conducting their own investigation into the second claim, and they said they are cooperating with police.

The initial allegation of sexual misconduct was reported to diocesan personnel on Friday, April 12, by a man who was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse.

On Monday, April 15, diocesan personnel reported the allegation in person to the Firebaugh Police Department.

According to the Firebaugh Police Department, the alleged victim reported inappropriate touching. The Firebaugh Police Department said the alleged victim was 16 to 17 years old at the time.

Victim Assistance Coordinator Cheryl Sarkisian of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno confirmed to 23ABC News on Friday that Bakersfield's St. Francis Church Monsignor Craig Harrison was "personally informed" about the accusations in a face-to-face meeting with Bishop Xavier Ochoa and diocese chancellor Teresa Dominguez on April 24 at 9:30 a.m.

On Thursday, just before 11 a.m., Monsignor Craig Harrison wrote in a Facebook post that he had "just learned" that he was on temporary administrative leave. In the post, he said he "will vigorously defend my honor from these allegations and look forward to my good name being cleared."