Shame on SNAP: Even After Priest Is Exonerated, Group Attacks Falsely Accused Cleric

Earlier this month (8/8/11), a Hawaii jury deliberated just minutes to declare that Fr. Bohdan Borowec, a Ukrainian Catholic priest visiting on vacation from Canada, was entirely innocent on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault.

Defense attorney Shawn A. Luiz, working pro bono on the case, effectively demonstrated that the claims against the priest were a complete fabrication from a woman of scant credibility. In addition to having an established mental health history, the unstable accuser had a record of making a false accusation against a priest before.

At the trial, the defense also produced e-mails following the alleged incident that demonstrated that the erratic woman was seeking money. These e-mails were exchanged even before she called the police, which she did not do until three days after the incident in question.

It should also be noted that Fr. Borowec has never had any other accusations of wrongdoing against him in decades in ministry.

Yet, despite the complete lack of credibility of the accuser and the fact that a jury acquitted the innocent priest so quickly, Joelle Casteix, the agitated "Southwest Director" of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), released an awful press statement (8/10/11) following the case. It began (emphasis added):

Our hearts ache for this brave woman who had the wisdom to report a (sic) horrific crimes to law enforcement. Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Hawaii – by Borowic or any cleric – will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.

"Brave woman"? "Horrific crimes"? Of course, there were no "horrific crimes." And the woman is not "brave"; she is a proven fraud.

SNAP's press statement reveals – again – that honesty means very little to the group. It also again exposes the fact that SNAP will attempt to bludgeon the Catholic Church by any means necessary, even if it involves attacking innocent parties.

Shame on SNAP.

Finally … Bravo to attorney Luiz, not only for skillfully defending an innocent man, but also for making a very important point to the Hawaii Catholic Herald:

“In cases of being falsely accused, the priest’s reputation is effectively destroyed while the accuser, on the other hand, enjoys anonymity and suffers no loss of reputation or negative material consequences.”

Indeed, Fr. Borowec's rite placed the priest on administrative leave after his arrest, disallowing him from celebrating the liturgy. In addition, the priest was detained for six months in Hawaii, not allowed to return to Canada. Meanwhile, the identity of the accuser has always been anonymous. (By the way, Borowec also goes by Borowic, apparently.)

Luiz also noted to the Hawaii Catholic Herald that while Hawaiian and Canadian media went frenetic over Fr. Borowec's arrest back in February, the coverage of his exoneration has been "minimal."

Let us pray for Fr. Borowec and all our priests!