Diocese of Fresno breaks its silence about Craig Harrison, SNAP applauds the Bishop's candor
A little more than a month ago, when the Diocese of Fresno finally released its list of “credibly accused” clerics, Msgr. Craig Harrison’s name appeared on it. In a media statement following, SNAP demanded that the Diocese be more transparent about their findings, what they knew and when, as Harrison continued to repudiate these allegations. To us, refusing to acknowledge the external findings by the District Attorney and the findings of the Diocesan review board appeared to be just plain denial by Harrison.
A letter from Bishop Joseph Brennan was read this past weekend to parishioners, acknowledging the Diocese had received accusations of abuse from seven children against Harrison. The allegations were first made public in April of 2019. The Bishop said that the review board for the Diocese of Fresno found each accusation "credible," which subsequently led to a case being opened at the Vatican against the priest. In shorter words, the judiciary tribunal in Rome will consider whether or not to officially remove the resigned Harrison from the clerical state.
We applaud Bishop Brennan for taking this step toward transparency, as we believe it has answered some of our questions. More importantly, this step may well encourage others who were victimized by Harrison or another priest, nun, or religious in the Diocese to find the courage and strength to come forward and report to law enforcement. There is also still time for survivors who have been time-barred from justice to file a civil suit for damages in California, and we encourage those interested to seek legal counsel. In addition, Attorney General Rob Bonta is still collecting information in an ongoing investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the state and those who experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse can use this link to report.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Dan McNevin, SNAP Treasurer ([email protected], 415-341-6417)
(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)