Fresno bishop calls out “ugly, mean-spirited” comments in sex abuse case

Bishop Joseph Brennan issued statement on May 10 in apparent response to calls for apology over public remarks by attorney for an accused priest

Bishop Joseph V. Brennan (image from LA Archdiocese)

The Diocese of Fresno’s new bishop has denounced comments made by a priest’s defense attorney targeting alleged victims of sexual abuse, calling the statements “unacceptable.”

Rev. Joseph V. Brennan’s statement came Friday afternoon, two days after an advocacy group demanded he make a public apology over comments made by Bakersfield attorney Kyle Humphrey.

Humphrey is representing Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison after allegations of sexual abuse against the priest emerged in Firebaugh and Merced. 

In late April, Humphrey told the Bakersfield Californian the diocese’s request asking anyone with information about alleged abuse to come forward was like “inviting the pigs to line up the trough for whatever their needs are.”

In Friday’s statement, Brennan said, public comments made about people with stories of abuse should be supportive. “It is most disturbing to me that public statements are made that sometime contain vile and filthy language in regards to child sex abuse victims,” the statement read. “That kind of language is ugly, mean spirited, dismissive and unacceptable.”

Brennan said he will do his best to listen and act in a way that is mindful of victims and survivors, as well as to help others do the same.

He also expressed his sorrow about those who have been abused “at the hands of clergy or at the hands of anyone for that matter.”

Full story at The Fresno Bee.

Comments

  1. Who is paying Attorney Humphrey ?

    • John Higgins says

      Probably the Diocese. Sometimes people we pay say horrible things, just like sometimes people in our families or amongst our friends say horrible things.

    • Steve Seitz says

      mike m,
      From what I can tell, the bishop wasn’t apologizing.

  2. Sounds like the bishop is posturing. Wants to be seen as on the side of victims. I think when dioceses make these huge settlements to lots of plaintiffs, there is a mix of legitimate and fraudulent cases. The attorney’s comments might be clumsy and ill advised, but I think calling them “vile and filthy” is too much.

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