Accused Predator Priest Put Back in Parish

September 14, 2010

Yet criminal case against him may be appealed

Support group blasts Catholic officials in GA & OH

SNAP worries victims and children could be at risk

A Catholic priest is back in a Georgia parish even though West Virginia prosecutors are still weighing whether to appeal a criminal case against him.

According to a church web site, Fr. Robert Poandl has been returned to active ministry in Claxton, Pembroke and Sandhill, Ga. in the Savannah diocese.

[Glenmary Priest Returning to Active Ministry]

Poandl alleged sexually abused a 10 year old boy in 1991 at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Spencer, WV. A grand jury indicted him on Jan. 26, 2010 on charges of first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a custodian, and his trial was to start August 30. But a judge dismissed the case because he found that prosecutors had withheld some records from Poandlís defense lawyers.

Leaders of a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are upset by the priestís reinstatement.

ďAt best, itís premature and reckless,Ē said Judy Jones, SNAPís Midwest Associate Director. "At worst, itís designed to intimidate others who saw, suspected or suffered Poandlís crimes into staying silent. Either way, itís not the caring, prudent thing to do, especially since the criminal process isnít exhausted.Ē

"Catholic officials have repeatedly promised they would put the safety of kids first and would keep credibly accused priests out of parishes," said SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy. "In this case, Savannahís bishop and Poandlís direct supervisor are violating these pledges. Poandl has, so far, essentially exploited a legal technicality. He hasnít been Ďcleared.í How will parents and parishioners feel if the West Virginia prosecutors convict him, knowing that their church hierarchy gave him access to more kids even after he was arrested?"

Prosecutors have roughly two months to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Poandl belongs to a Cincinnati-based religious order called the Glenmary Missionaries.


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