Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Fresno Diocese

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

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno has been under pressure the last few months to release its own list of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse. Although a list hasn’t been released yet, the diocese is rolling out a settlement program for survivors. Some attorneys who represent survivors find it to be strategic and controversial. 

 

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno

 

  One priest has been put on leave since a report was released last week by a Minnesota-based law firm listing 43 priests within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno who have been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct.

 

Father Eric Swearingen was put on paid administrative leave June 5, officials at the diocese confirmed Tuesday.

 

Christina Lopez

Two people have accused a Bakersfield priest of sexual abuse, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. The community’s response to the allegations is split between loyalty and fury.

 

But in the midst of the controversy, experts say alleged victims will continue to be silenced and refrain from coming forward.