Fresno-area priest dies seven months after being named in church’s sexual misconduct probe

Fresno Bee

January 22, 2020

By Yesenia Amaro

A longtime San Joaquin Valley Catholic priest died over the weekend.

Supporters called the Rev. Eric Swearingen a great man, but sexual misconduct allegations dogged him for years and key questions remained unanswered at the time of his death.

Swearingen, 58, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. Church officials declined to comment on his medical condition.

“Our focus, and sole focus, is on comforting the family, friends and parishioners that are deeply mourning the passing of Fr. Eric Swearingen,” Teresa Dominguez, chancellor for the Diocese of Fresno, said in an emailed statement.

His more than three decades of service included postings in Fresno, Bakersfield, Atwater and Lemoore and, most recently, Visalia.

Swearingen’s death comes seven months after he was placed on leave amid renewed investigations into decades-old sexual abuse allegations. Dominguez declined to say whether Swearingen was still on administrative leave at the time of his death.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.