Priest’s Attorneys Want Ex-nun’s Diary

By David Hedges
The Times Record
February 18, 2010

Attorneys representing a priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy want to read the diary of a former nun who served as church secretary.

Rev. Robert F. Poandl, 68, of Cincinnati is charged with the sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy in Spencer in August of 1991.

Police said the boy, also from Cincinnati, came with Poandl when he filled in for the regular priest one weekend at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Spencer.

The victim, now 28, still lives in Cincinnati and filed a complaint with West Virginia State Police last June. At that time, Poandl left his assignment as pastor in Georgia and returned to Cincinnati and the headquarters of the Glenmary Home Missioners, a religious order that serves rural communities.

Poandl was indicted by a Roane grand jury last month on charges he fondled the boy and had intercourse with him in the church rectory 18 years ago. He was arraigned on the charges and is free on $15,000 bond.

Poandl appeared in court Friday with his attorneys, Anita Ashley and Dennis Curry, and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

His attorneys filed several pretrial motions, including a request for a copy of a diary that was part of the State Police investigation.

The diary was kept by Karen Karper, now Karen Fredette, who was a Catholic nun who worked as secretary for the local church.

She later left the area and is now married to a former priest, Paul Fredette, who was pastor at Holy Redeemer at the time of the alleged incident.

The couple now lives in solitude in the mountains of North Carolina and was featured in a profile on hermits aired by the CBS Evening News last fall.

Poandl’s attorneys said the diary could hold some important information.

“We’ve got a couple pages. We need the rest,” Ashley told Roane Circuit Judge David Nibert about the diary.

Prosecutor Josh Downey said the portion of the diary he provided was all he had, an argument that did not sit well with the defense.

“They got part of it,” Curry told the judge. “That’s not good enough. Go get the rest.”

Curry said after the hearing he was not asking for the complete diary.

“We don’t want several years,” he said, “just enough of it to tell us what happened.”

The motion requests portions of the diary from 1991 and 1992 and says the information would supplement the “fragmentary disclosure” by the prosecution.

Curry asked Nibert for the earliest trial date possible, but he had to turn down a date in May because it conflicted with a trial in federal court in Charleston, where Curry is representing a member of the Pagans motorcycle gang.

Nibert set Poandl’s trial for June 15, with a pretrial hearing April 19.

Curry said he wanted to clear his client’s name as soon as possible.

“He didn’t do anything,” Curry said. “We’re just going to go to trial.”


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