BRATTLEBORO — A local businessman pleaded guilty Friday to one count of open and gross lewdness for groping a woman during a wedding in Marlboro on Aug. 21, 2022.
Andrzej Mikijaniec, 53, the owner of Andrzej’s Polish Kitchen, was catering a wedding when he made sexual comments to a woman before kissing and grabbing her, according to documents filed with Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division.
The woman described Mikijaniec’s behavior as “quick, gross, and invasive,” states the affidavit.
“From the bottom of my heart I really feel sorry, for the person I hurt and my family, especially my wife and children,” said Mikijaniec. “Those things will never happen again.”
“No woman should have to deal with unwanted advances,” said Albert Fox, Mikijaniec’s attorney, adding that his client’s behavior was inappropriate and out of character for him.
Fox said that since his arrest, his client has engaged in therapy and has ceased drinking alcohol.
“He’s done everything he can to be a better person,” Fox said, characterizing his client as “a pillar of the community” who has lived “an exemplary life” since he emigrated to the United States.
“That wasn’t me that night,” said Mikijaniec. “I know I have a drinking problem. I realize I cannot drink. This will destroy me.”
Mikijaniec, who received a sentence of 11 to 12 months, all suspended, with two years of probation, recently spent several months in Poland, his country of origin, where he worked with alcoholics and Ukrainian refugees.
He said working with alcoholics in Poland forced him to look at his own behaviors.
“If I continue my lifestyle, drinking and lying to people, I will be there one day. That woke me up.”
Mikijaniec said working with refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine was also an eye-opener for him.
“We have it so good in this country,” he said. “This country is beautiful ... I appreciate every little piece of it.”
He also said he hopes to return to Poland to visit with his mother, who has cancer, and to do more work with the refugees.