Harrison worked as a priest at St. Joseph from 1992 to 1999.
The man said that Harrison would inspect his genitals each night when he returned home under the pretext of checking to see if the teen had used drugs. He was 16 and 17 years old at the time.
In 1998, the man filed a report about the alleged abuse with the Firebaugh Police Department and the case was referred to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, George said.
A spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Harrison was questioned but not arrested. The sheriff's office ultimately declared the allegation "unsubstantiated."
A case against Craig Harrison was submitted to the Fresno County District Attorney's Office's sexual assault unit that same year, according to a spokesperson, but no charges were filed.
Four years later, the man went to the Fresno Diocese to again report the alleged abuse. Diocesan administrative officials interviewed him at the time.
“The interview is curious to say the least,” George said, referring to a transcript he said his client received from diocesan staff when they recently met with him in his home. “It’s biased.”
During the interview, George said, the former director of human resources and former chancellor of the Fresno Diocese questioned the man and described his allegations as "harassment."
They also pointed out that the man’s parents had given their son permission to live in the rectory and that Harrison had spoken to the man’s parents. According to the transcript, the man replied that his parents only spoke Spanish, George said.
“He felt put off,” George said, “and said, ‘at some point I think I’m gonna read about this in The Fresno Bee when other people come forward. […] This happened to others. I’m sure I’m not alone.’”
California law requires that clergy and church records custodians report suspected abuse or neglect of children to law enforcement.
“There’s no way that the information that was conveyed to the diocese in 2002 would not create a reasonable suspicion of child abuse,” George said.