Summary of Case: Robert Harrison was ordained a Capuchin priest of the St. Joseph Province in Detroit in 1964. He started his priesthood in his native Milwaukee as a parish assistant and teacher before going on to work as Director and Director of Social Services at a Wauwatosa home for adolescent boys. At some point he earned advanced degrees in Social Work and Law. Harrison appears to have left the Milwaukee archdiocese around 1977, living briefly in Bloomington, Indiana then relocating in 1978 to New York City. He reportedly worked as a civil attorney while living at a New York archdiocese-sponsored residence for young African-American men considering priesthood. The Official Catholic Directory shows several gaps in Harrison’s assignment history. By 1983 he was an assistant priest at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Harlem, and by 1991 Harrison was a Cardinal Hayes High School faculty member and basketball coach.
In December 2014 Harrison was removed from Cardinal Hayes and suspended from public ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused ten minors during the 1970s and 1980s in Milwaukee, Manhattan and the Bronx. Harrison had been borrowing money from Hayes staff members and, when questioned about it, he said he needed the money to pay a victim. Per the Capuchins, Harrison was sent to a “professional facility” and the abuse was reported to district attorneys in the jurisdictions in which it occurred.
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