SNAP applauds the conviction of Pennsylvania priest in 2004 assault
(For Immediate Release March 3, 2022)
Fr. Andrew Kawecki was recently sentenced to 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison for repeatedly assaulting an 11-year-old altar boy starting in 2004 and continuing until the boy was 14. Fr. Kawecki was charged by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General in August of 2020 after a victim reported to investigators that the priest forced sexual encounters with him starting when he was only 11 years old. The assaults continued for three years in the back room of St. Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance where Fr. Kawecki prepared for services before mass.
We echo the statement made by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, “The bravery of this survivor helped us hold Andrew Kawecki accountable, and he will now go to prison for his unthinkable crimes. My office will continue to seek justice and accountability for those who use their position of power and trust to prey on their communities.”
To us, this conviction demonstrates that secular investigations must occur in every state with the same tenacity and commitment as shown by the Attorney General's Office in Pennsylvania. The AG's tip line for reports of abusive clergy has yielded over 2,000 calls since the bombshell grand jury report was released in August 2018. We strongly believe that more will be revealed in states like Pennsylvania that have remained steadfast in holding abusers, and those who have enabled them, accountable.
The judge in the case of Fr. Kawecki sent a message to other perpetrators and those contemplating similar heinous crimes against children with this sentence. We applaud the courage of every survivor, witness, and whistleblower who helped police and prosecutors see to it that Fr. Kawecki was convicted, sentenced, and sent to prison, although we wish it could have been for a longer period of time.
Sadly, Fr. Kawecki’s victim received a much longer sentence, a life sentence. Victims are the ones who truly need both sympathy and care. We understand the pain and confusion survivors experience, and we encourage them to seek help from law enforcement, family, friends, and organizations such as ours. Through our work, helping victims, protecting the vulnerable, and seeking truth and justice, we hope to help religious institutions find true "zero tolerance" for abusive clergy.
CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, Communication Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (814-341-8386, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)