Accused Fresno Priest Profited Off Shady School Deal

News: Video Reports
by Christine Niles  •  •  September 12, 2019   

Did Msgr. Harrison defraud taxpayers?

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Catholic school children in the diocese of Fresno — allegedly used by a suspended pastor to defraud the government.

Those are the allegations against Msgr. Craig Harrison, pastor of St. Francis School — the same priest suspended since May for allegations of homosexual assault.

The plan allowed private schools to receive part of a $3 million government grant from the local school district if students completed necessary requirements.

The problem? Harrison's school took the money — approximately $26,000 plus 160 computers — but the students did not log the necessary hours, as shown in this April 2017 email to teachers: "We just received our second check from the lennox school district [sic] and we will be at risk to return it if progress is not made."

Harrison's parish was the only one in the diocese to take part, others balking based on possible illegality.

After a parent reported Harrison's school, L.A. County education officials launched a fraud investigation, and some parents and teachers left the school in protest.

The fraud investigation was dropped in 2018 after the Lennox School District abruptly shut down the program without explanation.

But similar money-making schemes in other cities have resulted in criminal indictments — what legal experts say would've been the likely outcome here if the L.A. County fraud investigation was seen through to the end.

To this day, Harrison defends his participation in the program, refusing to acknowledge any controversy.

Read more.


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