|Priest Cleared of Allegation, Returns to Pembroke Parish
Bryan County News
September 20, 2010
A Catholic priest who recently led a mission in Pembroke will return to his duties in the North Bryan area Sept. 25, after charges of child molestation from an alleged 1991 incident in West Virginia were thrown out by a judge.
A group called Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is against the priestís reinstatement.
Father Bob Poandl was pastor of Ohio-based Glenmary missions in Pembroke, Claxton and Sandhill from 2007 until 2009. He was accused in June 2009 of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in 1991 at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Spencer, W.Va.
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Poandl was indicted by a grand jury in January, but the charges were dismissed by a judge Aug. 27, reportedly because prosecutors withheld records from defense attorneys.
A church review board on Sept. 7 looked at the case and recommended Poandl be "returned to active ministry immediately," according to a Glenmary press release.
"In a letter sent to Father Dan Dorsey, Glenmary's president, the review board chairperson writes that the Board found 'the allegations are not credible,'" the release said, noting the review board "is comprised primarily of lay people charged to be a confidential consultative body to the Glenmary Executive Council. Current members include a clinical psychologist, a lawyer, three social workers, and a member of the Glenmary Community."
In a press release, SNAP Midwest associate director Judy Jones called the decision to reinstate Poandl "premature and reckless."
"At worst it's designed to intimidate others who saw, suspected or suffered Poandl's crimes into staying silent," Jones said. "Either way it's not the caring, prudent thing to do, especially since the criminal process isn't exhausted."
Prosecutors in West Virginia reportedly have about two months left to appeal the judge's decision.
In its press release, Glenmary said it is accredited in abuse risk management and its policies meet criteria established by the Catholic church to prevent or respond to sexual abuse of minors.
"Maintaining this accreditation is just one of the ways we, the Glenmary community, continue to do all we can to make sure children and young people are safeguarded," Dorsey said in the press release. "Glenmary has very comprehensive policies that are designed to protect children, and we enforce those policies. We remain vigilant to ensure that Glenmary missions and ministries are safe environments."
Pembroke's Holy Cross Church mission has roughly 90 members, according to a church website.
Prior to coming to Pembroke, Poandl was Glenmary's first vice president. He has been a priest for more than 25 years.
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