A Catholic reverend who was arrested for soliciting a prostitute may be getting a new pastoral assignment within the church, a letter sent out by the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City stated.
Father Andrzej Pawel Skrzypiec, 63, was arrested in October after allegedly agreeing to engage in sexual behavior in exchange for money with a person he thought was a prostitute, court documents state.
Skrzypiec denied making the sex deal and claimed he was roaming the area to get a taco from a nearby taco stand.
The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City’s website said Skrzypiec was on temporary leave from his duties after the arrest.
In the letter sent out Tuesday, Bishop Oscar A. Solis, D.D. said that while some people in the congregation want Skrzypiec to come back, others do not. Because of this, Skrzypiec may be ” given further time to resolve his personal issues, followed by a new pastoral assignment.”
In the mean time, Father Joshua Santos will continue to act at the temporary administrator.
Members of Skrzypiec’s congregation received this letter:
Dear Members of Saint Ambrose Parish and School Communities,
Greeting of Christ’s peace and love!
Over the past several months, many have suffered a great deal following the arrest of your beloved pastor, Father Andrzej Skrzypiec, for sexual solicitation of a prostitute. While Father Andrzej has insisted that he was not guilty of such crime, his inappropriate behavior caused serious scandal for the church.
During this time, I have received numerous opinions from members of the Saint Ambrose community regarding what they consider best for the healing of the community. While all admire Father Andrzej, some support his return to the parish and others think that is inadvisable. These communications express the fact that there is serious division within the parish.
Determining the best outcome for the priest, parish and diocese does not rest solely on the decisions made by courts, law enforcement or other criminal or civil authorities. The process we utilize at the diocese for allegations against any clergy misconduct is thorough and well informed. It includes professional psychological and physical medical evaluations as well as by others with expertise in multiple related areas.
The pain caused to Diocese of Salt Lake City and in particular, to the St. Ambrose community by Fr. Andrew’s arrest and subsequent evaluations saddens me. However, continued gossip and divisive conversations at the parish are detrimental to both Fr. Andrew and the parish. While the support for Fr. Andrew is appreciated, a fresh start may be in Fr. Andrew’s best interests. Such determinations are left to my authority and, I assure you, are made with due regard for all of the facts, his overall personal well-being and prayerful discernment as well.
As Bishop, I consider it best that Father Andrzej be given further time to resolve his personal issues, followed by a new pastoral assignment. As soon as possible, I will appoint a new pastor for Saint Ambrose Parish and school. In the meantime, Father Joshua Santos will continue as temporary administrator.
I ask that you join me in prayer, that any divisions within the community might be healed and that Father Andrzej Skrzypiec find again peace and renewal in his priestly life and ministry.
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
The Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis, D.D.
Bishop of Salt Lake City