Ex-priest Found Guilty of Child Sex Abuse
By Holli Deal Bragg
September 23, 2013
After a weeklong trial, a former Catholic priest in Ohio who once worked in Glennville, Claxton, and Pembroke was found guilty Friday on charges he took a 10-year-old boy across state lines for sexual purposes.
A group that follows cases of sexual abuse by clergy, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — also known as SNAP — hopes other victims will surface and share their experiences with law enforcement.
Robert Poandl, 72, will be sentenced at a later date, according to reports. He has worked in the past in seven Georgia towns as part of Glenmary Home Missioners, which is based in Fairfield, Ohio.
He was found guilty by jury Friday of taking the Cincinnati boy to West Virginia in 1991 for the purpose of sexually assaulting him. He was indicted Nov. 14 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, according to the FBI Cincinnati division website, www.fbi.gov/cincinnati.
The victim originally reported the incident in 2009, but the case was dismissed, according to reports. It was revisited in 2012.
The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
"This victim and his family are very brave," said Judy Jones of SNAP, which has closely monitored the case. "They are to be commended for their courage and determination to seek justice and to keep this child predator far away from kids for a long time."
Jones urges anyone who might have seen, suspected or suffered any criminal sexual contact by Poandl to call prosecutors.
"We believe there are more victims of Poandl, and it's never too late to share what you know or suspect with law enforcement officials." she said. "Poandl will be sentenced in approximately two months, so it is important for anyone who may have information to come forward so that he receives the appropriate sentence."
She has also publicly asked Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah to reach out to other victims and urge them to contact law enforcement.
A request by the Statesboro Herald for comment by Hartmayer was denied, said Barbara D. King, the director of communications for the diocese. Instead, she referred to a statement on the Glenmary Home Missioners website, www.glenmary.org, regarding the verdict.
In that statement, Father Chet Artysiewicz, the president of Glenmary Home Missioners, said he and the mission accept the verdict.
"I respect and accept the decision of the 12 jurors," he said in the statement. "... Sexual abuse is a heinous crime."
He said he realizes a verdict does not erase the incident.
"While the jury has rendered its verdict, I realize this does not mark the end of the pain involved in this situation," he said. "Today, more than ever, I pray that God's love and compassion will lead to healing for all involved, especially for the victim and his family."
According to a watchdog website, www.bishopaccountability.org, Poandl worked from 2007-2009 for a division of Glenmary Missioners, St. Christopher's, in Claxton. During that time he also worked at missions for St. Christopher's in Glennville (St. Jude), in Pembroke (Holy Cross) and in Sandhill (Our Lady of Guadalupe).
He also worked in Blairsville, Cleveland and Dahlonega, as well as in other states.
According to the website, Poandl was placed on administrative leave in June 2009 after the Rev. Dan Dorsey, the Glenmary president at the time, learned of the sexual abuse allegations regarding the 1991 incident. Poandl was charged in January 2010.
Dorsey stated at the time he removed Poandl from public ministry in Georgia and had him return to Glenmary Missioners' Ohio campus. Poandl has remained there since.
Bishopaccountability.org also cites other alleged incidents of sexual misconduct by Poandl that were reported in the past, some stemming back to 30 years ago.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.