Honolulu report details sex charge against priest

Author: Gabrielle Giroday
Date Published: 02/24/2011

Alleged attack on woman occurred in church, it says

THE sexual assault accusations against a Winnipeg priest on vacation in Hawaii stem from an encounter with a female churchgoer after a Sunday service.

Allegations of sexual assault and kidnapping against Rev. Bothdan Borowic, parish priest for two Ukrainian Catholic churches in Winnipeg, are contained in court documents obtained by the Winnipeg Free Press.

A 55-year-old woman complained to police about an incident on Sunday, Feb. 13, at a Catholic church in Honolulu.

Borowic had been vacationing in Hawaii and was in contact there with a small Ukrainian Catholic mission that has about 15 to 20 local members.

”(The suspect) grabbed (the victim) in the dining room in a bear hug and proceeded to bury his face into her neck and planted kisses and grabbed her right buttock,” said the court documents.

”She related that he was very aggressive, rough, and too strong for her to get loose,” said a document filed in the District Court of the First Circuit Honolulu Division, containing information from a member of the Honolulu Police Department.

The document says the victim tried to free herself and leave when Borowic allegedly ”became distracted by a phone ringing,” but he then ”came from behind and shut the door in front of (the victim), holding it shut, and not allowing her to get out.”

”(The suspect) then grabbed (the victim) once again in a bear hug and was holding her tightly to his body. With one hand he rubbed down the crack of her buttocks on the outside of pants using his finger, and at the same time he kissed her on the lips three times and asked her if she was single, married or divorced,” said the document. ”(The victim) did not give (the suspect) permission to touch, grab or hold her in the room without her permission.”

After the woman made the accusations, police arrested Borowic at Honolulu’s Holy Trinity Church, where officers said he presented them with a ”Winnipeg Canadian identification card.”

He was still in the Oahu Community Correction Center Wednesday, facing two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping, according to a spokeswoman with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu.

An official with the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, where Borowic serves as a priest, said officials here still haven’t been in touch with him and didn’t know if he had a lawyer.

The Archeparchy sent out a notice to its clergy saying the church was ”fully co-operating” with the authorities. The notice said Borowic, who also goes by the name Bohdan Borowec, was born in Poland in 1954 and ordained in Winnipeg in 1984.

Borowic was the parish priest for Ada Street’s Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church and Fountain Street’s Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church.

”Rev. Borowec has served in Manitoba and, to the best of our knowledge, he has never been in trouble with the law or had any complaints of misconduct,” said the notice. Chancellor Richard Soo of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg said Borowic has been put on administrative leave. Soo said he’s been in touch with the alleged victim.

”I’m worried about all the people involved,” he said.

”I’m worried about the person who made the complaint, I’m worried about the person that the complaint was made against, I’m worried about the parish there, and I ask for prayers for everyone concerned.”

gabriellegiroday@freepress.mb.ca