The Borowec Innocence Project
Father sat down at the dining room table to rest as he awaited a telephone call from his sister in Canada. The final party guest, a woman, approached Father and said ''Goodbye Father, thank you for serving the Mission''. Father politely reciprocated her hug, reciprocated the kiss of Peace on the cheek and said goodbye. Just then the telephone rang and Father went to the telephone room to answer it. After the phone call Father turned and shut the door to the main hallway to stop a draft. As he turned to go back in the dining room he was surprised to see the woman he had just said goodbye to standing near the other door to the phone room. The woman sat down on a bench there and began talking. One of the students who lives on the property passed through this telephone room, which is about 13x13 in size, during their conversation on two separate occasions. The student states that the woman sat chatting and laughing with Father there for ten to fifteen minutes. This student also says that the woman did not show any signs of distress and she never indicated there was a problem. When the conversation ended, Father escorted the woman to the front door and the student witnessed the woman turn to Father, reach up and give Father a hug and kiss on a cheek, and then walk to her car waving with a smile to Father.
Three days later, this same woman called police and had Father arrested for sexual assault and kidnapping.
Father was charged with these crimes and held on bail for six long months. A jury trial found him Not Guilty on all counts on August 8th, 2011.
On January 25, 2011, Winnipeg priest Father Bohdan Borowec arrived in Hawaii for the first time in his life. He had taken the opportunity to enjoy a vacation and serve as a priest at St. Sophia's Mission in Honolulu, which no longer has a full time priest of its own. He had a break from the prairie winter weather, and the parishioners had the benefit of a learned, highly respected, Polish born Ukrainian Catholic priest to serve them for a time.
On Sunday February 13, just days before he was scheduled to return home, Father served Divine Liturgy at mid-morning and then attended a farewell potluck party which was held in his honour. After lunch ten guests left, with one parishioner staying behind in the kitchen. There were still many other people moving about the house, volunteers that were preparing for an outreach homeless program there later that day.
On Monday, August 8, 2011, Rev. Bohdan Borowec from Winnipeg was acquitted of all charges of kidnapping and sex assault.
The defense produced evidence at trial that demonstrated the complaining witness fabricated the charges and was seeking attention with intent to obtain money from the church. Prior to trial, the prosecutor suppressed evidence regarding the complaining witness’s mental health history and prior false allegations she made against another priest.
Father Borowec has been detained in Hawaii for six months pending trial. The support and prayers from around the world have greatly assisted him during this difficult time.
Shawn A. Luiz, Attorney at Law