4 Added to New Orleans Archdiocese's List of Clergymen Credibly Accused of Sex Abuse
By Ramon Antonio Vargas
June 27, 2019
The list of Catholic clergymen who served in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and are faced with credible claims of sexually abusing minors grew by four names this week.
Robert Poandl, Christopher Springer, Lawrence Dark and Archibald McDowell were all added Monday to a list that had initially been released Nov. 2 and consisted of 55 priests as well as two deacons.
Poandl and the three others had been religious-order priests who were assigned to work in the archdiocese decades ago. While the archdiocese said it was later notified of sexual misconduct claims against them, their orders were in charge of investigating the cases and determining whether they were credible.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Sarah McDonald said it was “recently” notified that the accusations against all of them had indeed been deemed credible, leading to the decision to add all four to a list which now includes 61 clergymen who are suspected of child sexual abuse.
The archdiocese didn’t further address the timing of the updates to its list. It came shortly after the nation’s Catholic bishops met in Baltimore to pursue stronger accountability and transparency on complaints pertaining to the decades-old clergy sexual abuse crisis.
Ahead of that meeting, Louisiana’s dioceses and religious orders operating in the region had been intermittently releasing lists of suspected clergy abusers in a step toward coming clean with parishioners about the scandal.
Monday’s amendment to the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list marked the first time in years that Poandl — ordained in 1968 — had been mentioned locally in connection with the abuse crisis.
From 1973 to 1975, he oversaw a group of men living at Loyola University New Orleans while they decided whether to join the Glenmary Home Missioners order.
In 2010, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond notified local Catholics that Poandl — at the time working in Georgia — had been indicted on allegations of sexually abusing a minor in West Virginia in 1991.
He was removed from ministry and pleaded not guilty, and the charges at one point were dropped. However, federal authorities followed up with charges in 2012 accusing Poandl of taking that same boy from Ohio to West Virginia to sexually assault him.
A jury convicted Poandl in 2012 and sentenced him to 7? years in prison in 2014. He died in January at age 77.
The names of Dark and McDowell —who both died years ago and had previously served at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Mid-City — appeared on a list published earlier this month by their order, the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Likewise, Springer — who’s been accused of abuse by at least 30 people since his 1952 ordination — had been on a list put out in late January by the Diocese of Baton Rouge, where he served a number of pastoral assignments over the years. Springer at one point also served with the New Orleans-based Redemptorist order.
Laicized in 1990, Springer was thought to be living in the St. Tammany Parish community of Pearl River earlier this year.