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Priest, 56, accused of sex assault at church


The priest charged in connection with the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault on the grounds of an East Honolulu church arrived in Hawaii only two weeks ago.

The Rev. Bothdan Borowic, 56, was charged yesterday with kidnapping and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault. He was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

The assault occurred in what is known as the Makai House, a former convent on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church, 5919 Kalanianaole Highway in Kuliouou.

The priest was to lead services for the St. Sophia’s Ukrainian Greek Catholic Mission, said Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Hawaii. The priest was staying at Makai House, which is at the back of Holy Trinity Church. St. Sophia’s holds services daily in a small chapel of Makai House, Downes said.

The 55-year-old woman told police the priest held her against her will and sexually assaulted her about 1:55 p.m. Sunday. The priest was arrested at Makai House at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A man who answered the door at the Makai House yesterday declined to answer questions, as did people working in the Holy Trinity church office.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic rites are separate from those of the more common Roman Catholic churches like Holy Trinity. But Ukrainian Catholics also fall under the leadership of the Vatican and the pope.

St. Sophia’s is part of the Chancery of St. Nicholas Eparchy in Chicago, Downes said. The priest arrested, however, is a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Rev. James Karepin, chancellor of St. Nicholas Eparchy in Chicago, said in a written statement that the suspect is "a priest from Canada."

He said there is no record of the priest receiving an authority from his office to conduct any services or perform any missionary activities in Hawaii.

Karepin said the victim contacted Bishop Richard Seminack, head of St. Nicholas in Chicago, and was advised to file a report with police.

St. Sophia’s, founded in 1975, has a congregation of 15 to 20 people. Police said the victim was a member of the church. Efforts to reach members of the church were unsuccessful. Holy Trinity School, also on the same Kalanianaole grounds, shut down last June.

Star-Advertiser reporters Gregg K. Kakesako and Robert Shikina also contributed to this report.


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