Priest Indicted on Federal Sex Crime Charge
November 15, 2012
A federal grand jury has indicted a Fairfield priest with transportation of a minor across state lines for illicit purposes.
The indictment, issued Wednesday, said 71-year-old Robert Poandl, known as "Father Bob," took a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia in 1991 and sexually assaulted him there.
Poandl is a member of the Glenmary Home Missioners, a religious society of priests and brothers. The president of the religious order has said Poandl denies the charges and has never faced similar accusations in the past.
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
"They are very happy that he is away from kids and hopefully others," Jones said. "Anybody that has knowledge or has suspected or has been harmed by Father Poandl, they hope that they will have the courage to please come forward, report it to the police, so that this child predator can be kept away from kids forever."
A detention hearing has been scheduled for Monday, and federal prosecutors said Poandl was a flight risk because of his international travel and connections across the country.
If convicted, Poandl faces up to 10 years in prison.