Former Coastal Empire Priest Sentenced in Molestation Case

By Andrew Davis
February 13, 2014

Fr. Robert Poandl was sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison

A Priest who worked in the Coastal Empire for 5 years is now headed to jail for molesting a boy.

A US federal court judge in Cincinnati has sentenced Fr. Robert (Bob) Poandl to 7 1/2 years behind bars for taking a ten year old Ohio boy to Spencer, WV and sexually abusing him in 1991.

Fr. Poandl worked in the Savannah diocese from 2007-2009 and 2010-2012 at St. Christopher's in Claxton, St. Jude in Glenville, Holy Cross in Pembroke, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sandhill, GA.

Catholic officials transferred him about 30 times in 44 years.

"That alone is a serious red flag," said Judy Jones of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a Chicago-based support group. "A number of bishops and other church officials have acted dreadfully in this case, even in recent years, Despite this victim's credible abuse report, Catholic officials put Fr. Poandl back on the job as recently as 2012."

"This brave victim and his family should be praised for their courage and their determination," said Jones. "Their compassion and bravery has put this child predator in jail and away from innocent children. It was a long ordeal, but they did not give up."

"We fear there could be many others who have been hurt by Fr. Poandl and are still suffering in silence and shame," she emphasized "Victims often stay trapped and quiet unless they're gently but firmly encouraged to speak up, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing. That what bishops in each diocese where Fr. Poandl worked should have done years ago and should do now."

SNAP is calling on Catholic officials in both the Atlanta and Savannah dioceses to:

--visit each parish where Fr. Poandl worked and beg anyone who may have knowledge of or suspicions about clergy sex crimes or cover ups involving Fr. Poandl or other priests - to contact police, and

--post his guilty verdict and sentence on parish and diocesan web sites and in diocese newspapers and church bulletins.

Fr Robert Poandl worked at 7 different GA churches, including Pembroke, Sandhill, Claxton

Fr. Poandl belongs to a Fairfield Ohio-based Catholic religious order called the Glenmary Missioners and had church assignments in OH, PA, TX, KY, LA, MS, OK, and WV.

In June 2009, his church supervisors suspended Fr. Poandl from three Georgia parishes (St. Christopher's in Claxton, Holy Cross in Pembroke, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sandhill) because of child sex abuse allegations.

In Sept 2010, those church officials put Fr. Poandl back on the job at the same three parishes.

In Feb. 2012, they suspended him again, allegedly because of a second abuse allegation.

In August 2012, a third child sex abuse allegation was made against Fr. :Poandl.

In November 2012, he was indicted on federal charges, and in November 2013, Fr. Poandl was found guilty after a jury trial.

"Because Fr. Poandl was in ministry so long at so many places - as recently as 2012 -there could be even more recent victims," said David Clohessy of SNAP. "So we think he might be charged elsewhere for more crimes. And we suspect that some of his church superiors or colleagues might be charged with crimes too, like endangering kids, destroying evidence, obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses and the like. But first, others who saw, suspected or suffered these crimes or cover ups must step forward and call police."








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