Followers of accused priest Monsignor Harrison show their support with new signs
By John Cox
July 16, 2019
|A sign showing support for accused Catholic priest Craig Harrison is posted outside Lucas Silver at 1730 Oak St. in downtown Bakersfield. At least 200 of these signs have been picked up by supporters, and another 100 are on order.|
Photo by John Cox
Signs of support for accused priest Father Craig Harrison are beginning to pop up around Bakersfield.
At least 200 corrugated plastic signs stating "We support Monsignor Craig Harrison" were given out recently at the store on 18th Street where his adopted son works, prompting an order for 100 more.
The black-and-white signs, measuring 12 inches by 18 inches, have been posted in front of at least a few local businesses since they were first made available last weekend.
One such business is H. Walker’s Mens Clothing & Accessories on 17th Street. Owner Tracy Kiser said she wanted to show her support for a friend and customer.
"We're just proud of who he is and what he's done for our community," Kiser said of Harrison.
The signs were ordered and paid for by local lawyer Dan Raytis, a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, where Monsignor Harrison worked as pastor until being placed on leave in April over allegations he sexually abused a minor while serving as a priest in Firebaugh. Other accusers have since come forward making similar accusations against Harrison.
Raytis said he and his family alone came up with the idea of having the signs printed. He said the signs speak for themselves.
"We love Craig and we support him and we'd love to have him back as a pastor at our church," he said.
Harrison's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. Neither could a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, which placed Harrison on leave while it investigates the accusations against him.