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Catholic monk says he was victim of Fresno Diocese priest accused of sexual abuse

Abuse survivors demand release of list of Fresno Diocese priests accused of sexual misconduct

Members of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) hold press conference outside the Diocese of Fresno, demanding that the new bishop release a list of those accused of sexual misconduct.
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Members of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) hold press conference outside the Diocese of Fresno, demanding that the new bishop release a list of those accused of sexual misconduct.

In the latest development involving a Diocese of Fresno priest accused of sexual misconduct, a Catholic monk has stepped forward, claiming he too was a victim of “inappropriate touching, lies, manipulation, and abuse of power” from the accused.

Ryan Dixon, who also goes by the religious name Br. Justin Gilligan, told Bakersfield television station KGET he witnessed Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison acting inappropriate with children, giving them gifts and money, making sexual jokes and touching them.

Dixon alleged Harrison spent time alone with the children.

Harrison was placed on leave by the Diocese of Fresno in late April after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in Firebaugh. Soon after, another person came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Harrison in Merced.

Harrison’s attorney Kyle Humphrey told KGET that Dixon’s claims are an “effort to frame and destroy Fr. Craig as a means to get to the deep pockets of the church.”

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Father Craig Harrison Screenshot -- St. Francis Of Assisi Parish

The organization SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) sent a statement Wednesday applauding the Dixon for “not only for his courage to speak out and share publicly his experiences with Msgr. Craig Harrison, but also for his efforts to support the men — and their families — who have also come forward.”

Harrison served at Our Lady of Mercy, Sacred Heart and St. Patricks in Merced. He also served at St. Francis in Mojave, St. Joseph in Firebaugh. He was most recently serving at St. Francis Parish in Bakersfield.

Other diocese priests on leave

Teresa Dominguez, chancellor with the Diocese of Fresno, said the new Bishop Joseph V. Brennan recently delivered a message during all masses at St. Catherine in Dinuba about another priest being placed on administrative leave following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Brennan informed the church-goers he had placed Father Raul Diaz on leave on May 17 after law enforcement received a report alleging Diaz had engaged in inappropriate behavior that might have included contact with minors. He also encouraged people with information to contact the Dinuba Police Department.

KMPH first reported on Diaz on Tuesday.

Diaz is the sixth priest in the Diocese of Fresno to be placed on leave, pending ongoing investigations.

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