Rev. Robert Poandl: Priest Found Guilty in Child Sexual Abuse Case
By Greg Noble
September 20, 2013
NOTE: Graphic details were discussed during testimony that may be difficult to read or considered inappropriate .
CINCINNATI – A Catholic priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy 22 years ago showed no emotion when he was found guilty of sex charges in federal court Friday.
Rev. Robert Poandl, of Fairfield-based Glenmary Home Missioners, was convicted of one count of transportation of a minor across state lines for illicit purposes.
Poandl, 72, faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing.
When his verdict was read, Poandl's face didn't move. Around him, there were tears and bursts of emotion. Behind him, a man shouted, "Thank God."
Poandl did not comment after the verdict. He remains free on house arrest with electronic monitoring. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett ordered him to have no contact with minors.
The accuser's mother was overwhelmed by the verdict. Her son testified he did not tell his parents or anyone else about the 1991 attack for 18 years until 2009. The man said he suffered nightmares after the attack, experimented with LSD and cocaine, got hooked on Oxycodone and plotted to kill the priest and commit suicide.
"Just the relief and to reach over and to hug my son and to see the relief in him finally. I've dealt with this 4 1/2 years and it's been a nightmare," she said. "He has dealt with this for 22 years - 22 years until he could finally see justice."
Judy Jones of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, attended the trial all week to show support for the victim and his family and said, "They are so brave. The victim is so brave. To have to get up there and tell all the gory things Father Bob Poandl did to him."
In a statement, SNAP director David Clohessy said: “We are grateful that Fr. Robert Poandl has been found guilty ... However, we are worried that he may receive such a light sentence.
"It’s crucial that the justice system has accurate information about Fr. Poandl and his crimes so that he can be appropriately sentenced. So it’s important that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes now come forward to prosecutors."
Father Chet Artysiewicz, president of Glenmary Home Missioners, said in a statement, in part:
“My heart breaks for all those who have been impacted by this tragic situation. This has been a long, painful experience. I respect and accept the decision of the 12 jurors. I and all the members of Glenmary Home Missioners have continually prayed that a just resolution would be reached.
"I pray that God's love and compassion will lead to healing for all involved, especially for the victim and his family.”
See Artysiewicz's complete statement at http://www.glenmary.org/site/epage/146541_919.htm
Outside the courthouse Thursday, Poandl’s brothers, David and Edward, said they believed in Robert’s innocence and they were standing by him during these "dark times." They declined comment after the verdict.
The jury of eight women and four men had the task of weighing the accuser’s startling testimony against the defense’s claim that the former drug user made it all up.
The accuser, now 32, testified that "Father Bob" sodomized him in a West Virginia church rectory in 1991.
The accuser testified that Poandl “screwed up my life by raping me.”
"I wanted to go and kill him, punish him for what he's done," the accuser said.
During closing arguments, the U.S. attorney said Poandl groomed his victim's family by giving them money and earning their trust with the intent to molest the boy.
The defense tried to make the case that the boy had never gone to West Virginia with Poandl, attacking the accuser's drug use and credibility.
Federal prosecutors charged Poandl under the Mann Act after a West Virginia state court dismissed sex and assault charges against him in 2010 because of a technicality.
The accuser said Poandl attacked him after he fell asleep on an overnight trip with the priest to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.
"I awoke and he was sodomizing me. I cried out, ‘What are you doing to me?’" the accuser said.
"He replied, 'We're having sex.'"
When they retired for the night, the accuser and Poandl took separate beds in a rectory bedroom, he said.
He testified that he woke up a first time and Poandl was fondling him.
“He had his hand in my pants fondling my genitals," the accuser said.
He said he asked Poandl what he was doing and Poandl said was checking to see if he was wearing underwear.
The accuser testified that Poandl went back to his bed, but he awoke again to find Poandl sodomizing him.
Prosecution: “Was your underwear off?”
Prosecution: "Were you on your stomach or your back?”
The prosecution asked what the accuser did then.
"I just sat there and got raped," he said.
Prosecution: "Did he finish?"
Afterward, the accuser said, Poandl stood up, held out his hands and repeated, "I did a bad thing."
“You sinned and I sinned. We need to pray,” Poandl said, according to his accuser.