Father Sylwester Wiejata
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Inpatient treatment: 1999, 2000
Laicized (removed from priesthood): 2002
Assigned as follows:
- 1996-1999 Our Lady of Calvary (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1999-2000 Assumption B.V.M. (West Grove, PA)
- 1999-2000 St. John Vianney Center
- 2000-2002 Unassigned
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Sylwester Wiejata:
In 1999, William Lynn, the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia Secretary for Clergy, learned that Father Sylwester Wiejata had sexual relationships with multiple women in the Assumption BVM parish. According to Lynn’s notes, Wiejata had at least five confirmed sexual partners in the parish, and probably more. Lynn and then-Archbishop Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, ordered Wiejata to check into Villa St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, for treatment. During his 11 month stint at SJV, Wiejata checked out of the clinic multiple times against doctor’s orders, and each time he went to see one of his sexual partners. When it was clear that treatment was not going to work, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recommended to Wiejata that he take a leave of absence to discern his calling to ministry.
Around that time, Lynn learned that Wiejata sexually abused a 13 year old girl, who was the daughter of one of his paramours. Wiejata admitted to the allegation, and fled to a retreat house in New York, possibly to avoid the authorities if Lynn were to make a mandated report to law enforcement. There was no report.
In 2002, Lynn testified to a grand jury that he did, in fact, receive multiple reports that Wiejata was a “ladies man” who had an attraction to the married women of the parish. He also admitted that he first learned about the 13 year old girl in 2000, but did not act on the information because he did not personally find the woman making the report to be credible. She was the child’s mother, and she called twice a week for several weeks to discuss the abuse of her child, but never left her name. Lynn made no reports to law enforcement and instead told the parish pastor to be on the lookout for any chance of public scandal in the parish. If it became public, then he would have to take action, according to his testimony.
Wiejata was never reassigned to ministry after his discharge from Villa St. John Vianney. He was laicized by the Vatican in 2002.
Wiejata is still alive and believed to be living in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Anna. He is 49 years old. He is believed to be working in the pharmaceutical industry.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Philadelphia now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.