Bakersfield

Ex-Bakersfield priest Harrison settles, drops defamation suit against Fresno Catholic diocese

Former Roman Catholic Monsignor Craig Harrison has settled a defamation lawsuit he filed against Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno and the diocese’s former spokeswoman. 

Court records show that the case was dismissed on Monday after both sides agreed to the undisclosed settlement. 

Harrison, who resigned from the priesthood in February 2021, initially filed the lawsuit against Brennan and former Diocese spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez in February 2020. 

The ex-priest argued that Dominguez defamed him in an interview she did in 2019 with KQED regarding Harrison’s sexual abuse allegations from an accuser. 

In that interview, Dominguez expressed concern for the accuser, saying that she believed him. 

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan dismissed the lawsuit in May of last year, which led to Harrison filing an appeal before settling the case this week. 

With this lawsuit out of the way, Harrison still has two other defamation lawsuits pending that he filed. 

The first lawsuit is against a Benedictine monk, known as Justin Gilligan, over his statements of misconduct that Harrison allegedly committed when he was serving at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Bakersfield. 

The second lawsuit is against Roman Catholic activist Steven Brady and his organization Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. Brady held a press conference in 2019 in which he discussed Harrison.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.