Attacked by Judge, Media, Parish etc, Survivor Perseveres and Fr. Robert Poandl Gets Convicted
By Kay Ebeling
Nowhere is the church’s strategy to attack the victim more obvious than in the case of Father Robert Poandl, convicted in federal court September 20 of transporting a minor across state lines for illicit purposes.
It became open season for attacks on the accuser in August 2010 when molestation charges against Poandl were dismissed in Roane County, West Virginia. The judge badmouthed the accuser in open court and defense attorneys made false claims about the crime victim to reporters. Church devotees went online with adoring comments about the priest and hateful assumptions about the victim. David Pierre devoted an entire chapter to Father Poandl being “Falsely Accused” in one of his books. The day of the dismissal a guy named Steve in the UK wrote me that I need to update a blog post from April 2010 about Poandl’s indictment because, the emailer wrote, “This good man has been devastated by someone seeking a large payout.”
Worse yet, after his dismissal Father Bob Poandl himself wrote to parishioners of the Holy Redeemer parish in Spencer, West Virginia, in a letter to be read at Mass:
“Of course, I had known that this man was not trustworthy from the moment that he accused me. I knew that I had not hurt him in any way, let alone committed that terrible crime against him. Because of some very sad history in our Church, my word was strongly questioned.” (As reported in The Charleston Gazette at WV gazette.com)
In September 2010, City of Angels Blog developed a post about the case against Poandl having just been dismissed. Moments before I hit the publish button, the accuser’s brother emailed and I agreed to wait until after the case had been resolved before publishing anything about Poandl. So now three years later here is the story, and clean transcripts of those interviews are published here.
In keeping with the media’s coverage of last month’s trial, we are not publishing the victim’s name, instead referring to him here only as GH, as in “Got Him.”
“I want to see him behind bars. I never filed a civil suit. I want to keep him away from other kids.” (Poandl accuser, GH, August 2010).
How did GH react to the attacks on him after Poandl’s dismissal?
“Since I came forward, it’s so unbelievable that they would react this way. It’s like you’re reading a fiction book,” GH told me by phone in August 2010.
How the case was dismissed in that Spencer, West Virginia courtroom in August 2010 is in itself a study in Catholic Church manipulating and controlling the justice system. In Accuser GH’s own words:
“I had one-day notice of the motion to dismiss. It all happened over the phone. They were in a court setting, and I was sitting in Ohio in Poandl’s defense attorneys’ offices by myself.
“During the hearing Roane County DA Josh Downey only objected one time. The defense honed in on the medical records.
“They tried to steamroll us, we’ve got affidavits. They claim I manipulated the medical records. Fifty two pages of medical records was provided by the doctors me and that’s what I provided to the court.
“The medical records that were missing [which caused the 2010 case to be dismissed] concerned a totally unrelated incident. In 8th grade, three years later I was attacked by two guys, both received felonious assault charges
“That incident had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.”
The priest’s story is that the whole trip never happened. He’s not just calling my brother a liar, but my mother and me as well.
MORE ON THAT HEARING
in West Virginia
in GH’s own words
“I had to take a week off work for the upcoming trial, and make reservations to stay a week in a hotel. Problem is we’re facing the Glenmarys [Poandl’s religious order] and they don’t bat an eye at hiring six hundred dollar an hour lawyers.
“Defense attorney Anita Ashley is one lawyer by herself, they also hired Dimsmoor. That’s one of the highest priced law firms in Cincinnati. They have big nice offices.”
GH’s brother is an attorney and told me in August 2010:
“They lied, they accused my brother of destroying medical records, their private investigator knew that wasn’t true, and they created a false impression
“Defense counsel wrote the Judge’s order, when the judge dismissed the case.
“A team of at least five high paid defense attorneys came up against this one small town in West Virginia with a DA who was two years out of law school.”
GH told me in August 2010 about how he came to pursue charges:
“I’ve been living with this a long time. Recently I found out where Poandl was from the Glenmarry website. I want to see him behind bars. I never filed a civil suit. I want to keep him away from other kids.
“I realized he is in Claxton, Georgia, and he’s going to be around children. He’s in a position of authority and trust, and the parishioners aren’t even aware of what he’s done.”
GH’s family filed a Motion for Reconsideration hoping the Roane County DA would follow-up. He didn’t.
GH’s brother said to me in August 2010:
“I don’t want this pedophile to not be prosecuted.
“The priest’s story is that the whole trip never happened. He’s not just calling my brother a liar, but my mother and me as well. I remember Poandl coming by, I remember my mother asking me to go and I didn’t want to.
“I thought Poandl was creepy [LAUGHS] I do remember thinking he was creepy.”
POANDL GROVELS TO PARISHIONERS
and they believe him
Poandl wrote to the priest and parishioners of the Holy Redeemer parish in Spencer, written Saturday before Poandl left for New Jersey to be with his family.
Poandl thanked them for their prayers and kindness.
“Of course, I had known that this man was not trustworthy from the moment that he accused me. I knew that I had not hurt him in any way, let alone committed that terrible crime against him,” Poandl wrote. “I also know that such lying makes it all the harder for any true victim of such a crime to come forth and be believed. But until Friday and the court ruling, it was simply my word against [his] — and because of some very sad history in our Church, my word was strongly questioned.”
As reported in The Charleston Gazette at WV gazette.com
“The kid made the whole thing up,” David Pierre writes quoting one of the priest’s defense attorneys.
In his book, Priests Falsely Accused, David Pierre can barely contain his glee as he devotes an entire chapter to besmirching the character of the child sex crime victim in this case and piling adoration on the now convicted priest, Robert Poandl. Pierre relishes the wording of the Judge’s order dismissing the first case against Poandl saying,
“In his order dismissing the case, the judge really let the accuser have it.”
Pierre writes, “The accuser proved himself to be completely untrustworthy, which should not have been surprising, because as the case had moved closer to trial, the claims against the priest began to disintegrate.”
Pierre continues: “The kid made the whole thing up.”
Then quoting Church attorney Ashley: “‘The judge concluded [the accuser] was not credible’ the lawyer [for Poandl] continued, ‘You can’t trust him. They were trying to manipulate the evidence to convict an innocent man.’”
More from Ashley in Pierre’s book, “From the beginning it was clear to me that this man [Poandl] was innocent.”
Followed by Pierre’s exculpatory conclusion:
“In over 40 years in ministry, Fr. Poandl had never been accused of any other impropriety before.”
Yes, poor innocent Father Bob
Found guilty in Federal Court three years later.
At bottom of this post is a response from Pierre about the conviction of Father Poandl.
No he has no plan to apologize or rescind Chapter Five of his book.
After the beating this “accuser” went through to get his perpetrator priest convicted,
GH is a true hero.
Former Tyler priest sentenced to prison
Published on Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:05 – Written by From Staff Reports
An Ohio priest who served in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler from 1994 and 1999 was sentenced Wednesday to seven and a half years in prison.
Robert Poandl was convicted of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex in 1991. He was sentenced in federal court in Cincinnati on one count of transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the intent of engaging him in sex.
Prosecutors say the priest, from the suburban Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners, took the boy to Spencer, W.Va., in 1991 and raped him while visiting a church there.
Catholic officials in Tyler say that no one has come forward claiming abuse by the priest since his indictment in March of 2010, and maintains a page on the Diocese website about Poandl and how to report abuse.
“We encourage people to come forward who have ever been victimized by anyone,” said the Rev. Gavin Vaverek, promoter of justice for the diocese. “That’s our ongoing policy.”
At the time of the indictment in 2010, the bishop at the time of the Tyler Diocese, The Most Rev. Alvaro Corrada, issued a request in parish bulletins for any victims who may be in Tyler to step forward.
Poandl served in a parish in Pittsburg while with the Diocese of Tyler. He was convicted in September and continued to maintain his innocence Wednesday.
“I have never ever abused anyone, ever,” the 72-year-old priest told the judge prior to sentencing.
Representatives at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say that the kind of cooperation they received from the Tyler diocese is unusual, and still urge anyone in the Tyler Diocese to come forward with any information. Those who wish to come forward may contact law enforcement or SNAP.
“It’s never too late to share what you know or suspect with law enforcement officials,” said Judy Jones of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It’s up to us to pass on information. And it’s up to police and prosecutors to determine what will help them prosecute a criminal.”
Besides Texas, he worked at churches and church assignments in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and Georgia.
“He has been transferred roughly 30 times in 44 years. That alone is a serious red flag,” said David Clohessy of SNAP in the written release.
Poandl also said that he believes his accuser has convinced himself and his family that the abuse occurred and they believe him.
He said he would pray for the accuser and his family.
The victim, who now is in his 30s, also spoke in court prior to sentencing, saying that the priest had “put hate into my heart.”
The accuser, looking directly at Poandl much of the time, said that the abuse caused him years of anger and shame.
“It is time for justice to finally be served,” he told the court.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they were sexually abused.
The accuser, now in his 30s, didn’t tell West Virginia law enforcement officials until 2009 that he’d been abused. Poandl was indicted there on charges accusing him of sexually abusing the boy, but a judge dismissed those charges in 2010.
Prosecutors said at the trial that the priest told the boy’s parents he needed someone to ride with him to keep him awake and navigate and then raped the boy after they arrived at the West Virginia church. The priest then told the boy that they had sinned and needed to pray for forgiveness, prosecutors have said. The defense argued that the accuser’s story changed through the years and was full of inconsistencies.
Poandl’s attorney, Stephen Wenke, in asking the court for a lesser sentence, noted that the priest has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer of the kidney and is likely to die before the end of the year. He asked the court to take that into account with Poandl’s age and years of community service.
Wenke declined to comment Wednesday after the sentencing other than to confirm that they are appealing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Muncy had requested the maximum sentence, telling the judge that Poandl abused the trust placed in him by the victim and the victim’s family. She later said she thought the sentence was fair.
“I would just encourage anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse to come forward and have faith that justice will be served,” she said.
Poandl’s accuser left the court without commenting.
Members of Poandl’s family were crying afterward, with some calling out “love you Bob,” as the priest left the court in handcuffs.
The Glenmary religious order, which isn’t associated with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a society of priests and brothers who dedicate themselves to establishing a Catholic presence in rural areas and small towns. The group removed Poandl from ministerial duties in 2012.
Priest indicted on federal sex crime charge
Feds say Poandl took boy to W.Va., sexually assaulted him
CINCINNATI —A federal grand jury has indicted a Fairfield priest with transportation of a minor across state lines for illicit purposes.
Poandl was moved from his ministry assignment in Georgia when the allegation came to light and brought to Cincinnati. He has not publicly functioned as a Catholic priest since he was moved.
FBI agents descended on Glenmary Home Missionaries in Fairfield on Thursday. A spokeswoman for the missionary said they came with a warrant for Poandl’s arrest.
Poandl was traveling at the time, the spokeswoman said, and turned himself in to the Kenwood FBI office, where he’ll answer to the federal charge.
“I was yelling hooray for the victims and for kids,” said Judy Jones, associate director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. “Hopefully they can’t be harmed anymore by this predator.”
Jones said Poandl was indicted in this same case two years ago but the charges were dismissed.
Glenmary’s president issued this statement saying, “We have just learned of these charges today, and we are working to fully comply with the subpoena and cooperate with investigators.”
Jones said she has been in touch with several alleged victims. They didn’t want to be interviewed for fear of compromising the investigation, but they wanted to get a message across.
If convicted, Poandl faces up to 10 years in prison.
New Abuse Allegations Against Fmr Savannah Priest
By: Andrew Davis | WSAV News 3
Published: August 22, 2012
Updated: August 22, 2012 – 11:39 PM
ATLANTA, GA/SAVANNAH. GA —
A former Savannah Diocese priest is facing a new allegation of sexual abuse, and calls from at least one group for him to be removed from the clergy.
This is now the 3rd person who has come forward claiming Father Robert Poandl molested him when the victim was just a boy, in this case about 10 years old.
In this case, the Atlanta man has filed a police report about the alleged abuse.
From 2010-2012 Father Poandl worked in churches in Claxton, Pembroke and Sandhill.
But earlier this year and for the second time in three years, Father Poandl was suspended from Georgia Catholic Parishes because of alleged child sex crimes.
This isn’t the first time questions have arose about the priest.
He was cleared of sexual abuse charges in West Virginia back in 2010.
Father Poandl is currently in a Cincinnati clergy residence, but is not functioning as a priest.
The head of the Glenmary Home Missioners, which Poandl is a member, said in a statement that they have requested a copy of the police report and have a professional independent investigator looking into the allegations.
The group’s president, Father Chet Artysiewicz, added in part;
“Glenmary is committed, first and foremost, to making every possible effort to prevent misconduct by any of its members, and we also remain committed to facilitating healing for all those involved in any instances of sexual misconduct by providing an open, compassionate pastoral response.”
News 3 spoke to the Diocese of Savannah as well, they are aware of the allegations as well, but are letting Glenmary handle the investigation, and any comments.