Diocese Reminds Parishioners of Sex Abuse Hotline
By Jason Wermers
September 25, 2013
In the wake of a former Catholic priest who used to work in southeast Georgia being found guilty on a child sex abuse charge, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah is reminding parishioners of its sexual abuse hotline.
Robert Poandl, 72, was found guilty Friday by an Ohio jury of transporting a minor across state lines with intent to engage in sexual activity.
Poandl, also known as "Father Bob," took a 10-year-old Cincinnati boy to West Virginia on an overnight trip in 1991. The victim reported the incident in 2009, saying that during the trip to a rectory, Poandl awakened him to have sex, then said they had just sinned and needed to pray for forgiveness, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Poandl will be sentenced at a later date.
Father Chet Artysiewicz, the president of Ohio-based Glenmary Home Missioners, notified the Diocese of Savannah of the guilty verdict because Poandl previously served as pastor of Glenmary missions in Claxton (St. Christopher), Pembroke (Holy Cross) and Sand Hill (Our Lady of Guadalupe).
Poandl also worked in other Georgia towns and other states.
"In view of (the guilty verdict), all parishioners are reminded of the diocesan toll-free hotline (888-357-5330) to report incidents of sexual abuse by a diocesan employee or volunteer, and are encouraged to come forward," according to a bulletin notice issued for Claxton, Pembroke and Sand Hill by the Diocese of Savannah. "Parishioners may also contact their pastor, the Diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People (912-201-4073), or civil authorities."
The diocese also issued a separate reminder notice, which referred to the sexual abuse policy on the diocesan website, www.diosav.org/childyouthprotection.
The policy is also "discussed at every safe environment training session held throughout the diocese, and is published in every issue of the Southern Cross, the diocesan newspaper, which is mailed biweekly to every household in the diocese," the reminder says.
Glenmary relieved Poandl of his pastoral duties in Claxton, Pembroke and Sand Hill in February 2012, after an allegation of sexual misconduct. He was living under a safety plan at Glenmary's Cincinnati residence and has not functioned as a priest since then, according to a statement by the missioners.