Bakersfield attorney Kyle J. Humphrey said he will present evidence at a Wednesday morning news conference suggesting Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno threatened retaliation and punishment unless Bakersfield priest Craig Harrison drops a defamation lawsuit centering on sexual misconduct allegations.
Humphrey issued a news release Tuesday saying Brennan threatened to initiate a formal process under Canon law, the Catholic church’s ancient legal system, unless Harrison dropped his suit.
Harrison was placed on paid administrative leave after being suspended in April 2019 from his job as pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. He has denied ever engaging in sexual impropriety.
A spokeswoman for the diocese said Tuesday no statement would be provided on Brennan’s behalf.