Merced County Da’s Office Won’t File Charges against Fresno Diocese Priest
By Yesenia Amaro
November 15, 2019
|Father Craig Harrison SCREENSHOT -- ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI PARISH|
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office on late Friday announced it won’t file criminal charges against a Diocese of Fresno priest accused of sexual misconduct because the statute of limitations has run out.
In a news release, the office said the Merced Police Department conducted an investigation into allegations of inappropriate touching by Monsignor Craig Harrison. The police department opened the investigation into Harrison after an unidentified person came forward with accusations in April, following allegations by a different alleged victim in Firebaugh.
Harrison was placed on administrative leave in late April after the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office worked with the police department, according to the release. Last month, both agencies determined “that all available evidence and leads had been identified and exhausted.”
“Since that time, the District Attorney’s Office thoroughly evaluated all of the evidence obtained,” the release said.
The incidents allegedly took place in Merced County between 1987 and 1988, according to the release. No charges will be filed because the statute of limitations has run out, the District Attorney’s Office said.
In July, the Diocese of Fresno said the Bakersfield Police Department had also decided not to pursue charges against Harrison. As of late Friday, it was unknown if the Firebaugh Police Department was still investigating Harrison.
The Diocese of Fresno didn’t immediately return a request for comment late Friday.