Another Survivor Comes Forward in the Diocese of Fresno; SNAP Responds
For immediate Release: April 29, 2019
A second man has now accused Msgr. Craig Harrison of child sexual abuse. He reportedly told the Merced Police Department on Friday that the monsignor inappropriately touched him in 1988 when he was a boy. The priest had been suspended from ministry earlier in the week pending an investigation into similar allegations from another man.
While we have no firsthand information about this case, we know that false allegations are exceedingly rare. Multiple allegations are even less likely to be false.
We also know that it can take decades for a victim to find the courage to speak out. Studies show that the average age to disclose is 52, with the median age 48. So it was infuriating to read that Msgr. Harrison’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, claimed that "When someone comes forward to allege an incident from 31 years ago, their motivation is suspect.”
It was also maddening to have Mr. Humphrey opine that “[T]hese individuals see potential financial gain.” While we understand that the attorney is only doing his job, it seems to us that his comment was beyond the pale.
As far as we know, neither of these men has filed a lawsuit for damages. Moreover, as a lawyer should know, Both are in fact most likely barred from taking that action by California’s predator friendly statutes of limitations.
Most survivors come forward to the Church and police, as these two men have, out of concern for today’s children. Considering the way victims are depicted when they do come forward, it is a wonder than any ever speak out, and certainly not surprising that it takes time to gather the strength and bravery to do so.
We hope that others who may have been abused by Msgr. Harrison or anyone else in the Diocese of Fresno, as well as anyone who witnessed or suspected abuse, will take courage from the fine example of these two men and make a report to law enforcement and to California’s Attorney General.
Please: if you know something, say something.
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Board Member (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California (email@example.com, 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator, (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)