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A Diocese of Fresno 59-year-old priest allegedly touched a Firebaugh victim — who was 16 or 17 years old at the time — on three separate occasions when the alleged victim was an altar boy at St. Joseph Church, the Firebaugh police said Friday.
In a news release, the Firebaugh Police Department said the diocese, through an internal investigation, discovered information the diocese was mandated to report to police. Although, the diocese in a Thursday statement said a report had been made to diocese’s staff on April 12, and diocese personnel made a report to police three days later.
Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison is on administrative leave, pending ongoing investigations by the diocese and Firebaugh police.
Officer Ricardo Monay interviewed the alleged victim, who is an adult now, but was a minor at the time of the alleged incident, and serving as an altar boy.
“At the time, the victim told the officer he was alone with Monsignor Harrison when he was inappropriately touched on three separate occasions,” the news release says. “During this time, Monsignor Harrison was the priest of the St. Joseph Church in Firebaugh.”
Before being placed on leave, Harrison was serving at St. Francis Parish in Bakersfield.
The diocese in a Thursday statement said its conducting its own internal investigation, and has informed all parishes where Harrison had previously served. Those parishes include Our Our Lady of Mercy and St. Patrick’s in Merced, St. Francis in Mojave and St. Joseph in Firebaugh, where the alleged incident took place.
Four other priests are currently on administrative leave, pending ongoing investigations.
Firebaugh police said no charges have been filed against Harrison, as the investigation is ongoing.