Fr. Bernard Harris – Diocese of San Jose

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Bernard Harris

Diocese of San Jose (Jesuits)

Ordained: 1947

Died: 1972

Assignment History:

  • 1942-1946: Alma College (Alma, CA)
  • 1947-1948: Manresa Hall (Port Townsend, WA)
  • 1948-1952: Bellarmine High School (Tacoma, WA)
  • 1953-1971: Loyola High School (Missoula, MT)
  • Unknown: St. Ignatius Mission (Flathead Indian Reservation, MT)
  • The 1950s-1972: St. Francis Xavier’s (Missoula, MT)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Bernard Harris:

Fr. Bernard Harris, known as Fr. Harry, was a priest of the Oregon Province, ordained in 1947. He served in multiple dioceses including in the Diocese of San Jose. According to media reports, in 2006, he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing four siblings/children, three girls and a boy, in the late 1960s through early 1970s. Harris was incardinated in the Diocese of Helena, MT at time of alleged abuse, teaching at Loyola HS in Missoula and working at St. Francis Xavier parish there. That year, Harris’ name was included on the Archdiocese of Seattle list of clergy in which the allegations of sexual assault are found credible.

Harris’ brother, Fr. James Harris, was accused of sexually abusing seven children in the same family. James Harris was the family’s parish priest who is said to have befriended them in 1968 after their house was destroyed in a fire.

In 2009, two brothers reported that Bernard Harris sexually abused them when they were altar boys at St. Francis Xavier’s in Missoula, Montana in the late-1950s to the mid-1960s.

In 2011, twenty claims were settled by the Jesuits in March 2011. Harris was accused of sexually abusing at least one Native American child at St. Ignatius Mission in Flathead Indian Reservation. Harris was named in a 2011 lawsuit filed by a woman who accused him of molesting her at St. Francis’ school when she was 8 years old. A man also accused Harris in another 2011 lawsuit of fondling him on several occasions in St. Francis’ basement when he was a 15-year-old boy.

In 2018, Harris’ was included on the Jesuits West Province list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse. It noted allegations reported in 1993, 2006, and 2009 in reference to abuse of a minor that occurred in 1958-1962, 1962-1966, 1965-1969, 1971-1972.

Harris died in 1972.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of San Jose in California. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of San Jose now have legal options due to a temporary change in the law, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us toll-free at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.