Corrupt Police Ignored 95% of Witnesses in Priest Abuse Case

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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 10, 2019   

Bakersfield Police Dept. accused of protecting their chaplain, Msgr. Craig Harrison

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TRANSCRIPT

Monsignor Craig Harrison of the diocese of Fresno, California has reason to thank the Bakersfield Police Department for clearing him on charges of child molestation.

There is, however, more to the story — in fact, much more. And it calls into further question the integrity of any investigation this particular police department has done.

Bakersfield police have an ongoing reputation for corruption.

[montage of Bakersfield police corruption reports]

Critics say Harrison personally benefited from the police's climate of corruption because Harrison has been chaplain to the Bakersfield cops for years. 

That, they say, makes this a sham investigation. 

Specifically, Bakersfield police simply ignored 95 percent of witnesses in their alleged "investigation" of Harrison.

Church Militant obtained the 114-page police investigative file, and a close examination reveals lead investigator Randy Petris refused to interview 42 out of 44 witnesses to Harrison's misconduct. 

Among those not interviewed?

  • A religious sister who once said something needs to be done about "getting those boys out of [Harrison's] bed" 
  • An errand boy at St. Francis Church, Harrison's parish, who was able to provide information about his "open rectory with minors, money issues, lying, manipulating"
  • A doctor close to Harrison, who offered seminarians free doctors' visits and prescribed medicine for Harrison "which there is a lot of"

Bakersfield police refused to respond to Church Militant's inquiries about why they closed the investigation without interviewing dozens of witnesses. 

Harrison is still on leave from the diocese and has been since May, after multiple men came forward accusing him of sexually abusing them in their teens.

Despite being cleared in the potentially corrupt investigation, Harrison is far from out of the woods.

Two separate police departments are conducting their own investigations into separate allegations of sexual assault by Harrison, and the diocese of Fresno is also doing its own internal examination.

If the Bakersfield police did fudge the investigation for their longtime friend, Harrison's comments at the July 25 press conference should be written off as little else than a celebrity performance. 

 

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