Wednesday, in our continuing coverage of sexual abuse allegations facing Monsignor Craig Harrison, we took you to Long Beach for a reaction from a prominent accuser in a separate and unrelated case settled years ago.
We gave you a look at “SNAP” the “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and told you that the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault in Bakersfield hadn’t commented yet on Harrison’s allegations.
That changed Thursday.
“People are hurting, we’re seeing it in a lot of different forms and people have very different feelings come from personal experiences, some from caring for the people who have gone through it,” said Louis Gill, CEO for Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. “It’s emotional chaos for individuals trying to make sense of the information they can’t comprehend.”
The sexual misconduct allegations against Harrison stunned the community. Whether you believe the Monsignor who’s impacted so many lives in Kern County, or the accusers as all allegations of sexual assault should be taken seriously, this is perhaps one of the most polarizing issues we’ll see here, as some struggle with which side to believe.
“I think anytime a community receives shocking news they go into shock and people respond differently,” said Gill. “Some people get angry, some people get sad. Right now everyone is hurting. What we need to do as a community is not rush to anything other than people are hurting and they need to be loved and cared for.”
Hundreds of people packed St. Francis Church Wednesday evening, to show their support for the church’s leader.
Protestors also showed up to make their voices heard. and, at one point, things got heated when protesters clashed with supporters.
“It’s emotional chaos for individuals trying to make sense of the information they can’t comprehend,” said Gill. “These are the moments as a community where we can pull together and care for one another. That’s who we are and I know that’s what we’ll do.”
Gill reminds the community that the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault will be there for anyone for feels they’ve been abused.
“This is a very public example of what we do every day and I wasn’t anyone out there that may have been harmed and has yet to come forward seeking assistance to know that there is a safe, welcoming place for them at the alliance.,” said Gill. “It’s what we do and we want to help.”
If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse you can contact the alliance at (661) 327-1091.