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Bakersfield Police Department

Christina Lopez

A Valley priest who has been the target of several sexual abuse allegations is suing the founder of a Catholic organization for defamation. 

According to the civil lawsuit, filed through Kern County Superior Court earlier this month, Stephen Brady, founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, made statements about Msgr. Craig Harrison that were “false, defamatory, libelous and slanderous.” 

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

A Reedley priest who was accused of sexual abuse by two women earlier this week was put on paid administrative leave Thursday, officials at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno confirmed.

 

Sylvia Gomez Ray, 52, spoke publicly about the alleged abuse she experienced in the 1980s from Msgr. John Esquivel on Monday in front of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bakersfield. At the time, Gomez Ray was a secretary at St. Joseph’s.