Father Craig Harrison placed on leave amid allegations of sexual abuse of a minor

Bakersfield Californian

April 25, 2019

By Stacey Shepard

Msgr. Craig Harrison, the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church since July 1999, has been put on paid leave for investigation of sexual misconduct with a minor, according to The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.

In a media release, the diocese said it had received an allegation on April 12 of sexual misconduct by an adult male who was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. The diocese said it reported the matter to the Firebaugh Police Department on April 15.

Harrison previously served as pastor of St. Joseph in Firebaugh, according to the St. Francis of Assisi website. The diocese said he also served at Our Lady of Mercy, St. Patrick’s and Sacred Heart in Merced, as well as at St. Francis in Mojave.

The diocese is also conducting an internal investigation.

Harrison answered the door at his downtown home just before 9 a.m. Thursday, before the Catholic Diocese confirmed he was on leave. Harrison was on his cell phone and looked shaken. He told a reporter he hadn’t heard anything about being placed on leave and was trying to find out more information.

This is the second recent allegation to rock the local Catholic community.

The Rev. Miguel Flores of east Bakersfield’s St. Joseph Catholic Church was placed on administrative leave after senior church officials decided to take another look at 17-year-old sexual misconduct allegations involving him and a then-16-year-old girl.

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