Fr. Sylwester Wiejata – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Nov 30, 2018 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Sylwester Wiejata

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Ordained: 1996

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:

Father Sylwester Wiejata was ordained a priest in 1996 and served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career. According to media reports, 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 believed to be living in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, and 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 Archdiocese of Philadelphia may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.