Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Priest charged

Canadian priest charged with assault, kidnapping on Hawaiian vacation
By Gabrielle Giroday, Postmedia News February 23, 2011 5:26 AM •Story•Photos ( 1 )
Easter mass at St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Winnipeg.Photograph by: Global TV, WinnipegWINNIPEG — A Ukrainian Catholic priest from Winnipeg has been charged with sexual assault and kidnapping during a vacation in Hawaii.

A Honolulu Police Department spokesman confirmed Bothdan Borowic, 56, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with kidnapping and two counts of sexual assault in the third degree following allegations made by a 55-year-old woman.

Lawrence Huculak, archbishop for Ukrainian Catholic churches in Winnipeg, said he hasn't spoken to Borowic, who is the parish priest at the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church.

"It's quite a shock for us," he said. "Because the information's been coming to us piecemeal, that makes it even more difficult for us to get a correct understanding of what's at issue here."

Borowic had been in Hawaii for about two weeks before the accusations arose, said Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. The priest was in contact with a small Ukrainian Catholic Church mission which has about 15 to 20 local members and has been around since the 1990s, he said.

Borowic was staying at the Catholic parish where the Ukrainian group meets in a small chapel, said Downes, and the attack is alleged to have happened on church property.

Police said the victim, who is a parishioner, alleges Borowic "held her against her will as he sexually assaulted her."

She was in contact with a Ukrainian Catholic official in the U.S. before going to police.

Huculak said it's been "rather difficult" to get information on the case because of the distance between Canada and Hawaii.

"One of the complications here is the question of jurisdiction," said Huculak.

A statement released by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saint Nicholas in Chicago — which oversees all Ukrainian Catholics in the Western half of the United States, as well as Hawaii — said the victim contacted a bishop there before going to police.

"After being informed of the allegations by the victim, (the bishop) counselled her to immediately file a report with the police," said the statement.

The statement goes on to mention Borowic was "not connected in any way to its mission" in Honolulu.

Police said bail was set at $75,000.

The Winnipeg Police Service said Borowic is not known to them.

© Copyright (c) Winnipeg Free Press

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