No charges for Monsignor Craig Harrison in sexual battery investigation due to insufficient evidence

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Bakersfield Police Department says it has closed an investigation into Monsignor Craig Harrison due to insufficient evidence.

In May, police received allegations of misdemeanor sexual battery by Monsignor Harrison that occurred during the early 1990s.

In a statement, officials said, "After a thorough investigation, we have not identified any allegations of criminal behavior with corroborative evidence."

BPD added that the case does not meet standards for a recommendation to file criminal charges and that it will not be forwarded to the Kern County District Attorney for review.

Officials say the investigation is closed at this time, but if additional information becomes available, the department may reopen the investigation.

The Diocese of Fresno released a statement saying:

"Msgr. Harrison's status will remain the same while Firebaugh Police Department and Merced Police Department investigations continue."

On April 12, an allegation of sexual misconduct by Msgr. Harrison was reported to diocesan personnel by a man who was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse.

On Monday, April 15, diocesan personnel reported the allegation in person to the Firebaugh Police Department.

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According to police, the victim was 16 to 17 years old and an altar boy when the misconduct occurred. The victim told police he was alone with the pastor when he was inappropriately touched three times. At the time of the alleged misconduct, Monsignor Harrison was a priest.

Just weeks after these allegations were reported to Firebaugh Police, another victim came forward in Merced, accusing Msgr. Harrison of sexual misconduct.

RELATED: Merced man comes forward with sexual misconduct allegation against Monsignor of Bakersfield

The 46-year-old man told Merced Police that Msgr. Harrison had inappropriately touched him in the late 1980s.

Records from the diocese show Msgr. Harrison served at Our Lady of Mercy, and St. Patricks Catholic Church in Merced from 1987 to 1989.
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