Former Pembroke Priest Goes to Prison for Abuse

By Jamie Parker
Savannah Morning News
February 14, 2014

Robert Poandl

A Catholic priest, the Rev. Robert “Bob” Poandl, who once worked at Holy Cross Church in Pembroke and in six other Georgia communities has been sentenced to seven and one half years in prison for transporting a 10-year-old Cincinnati boy to Spencer, W.Va., in August 1991 where he sexually assaulted the child.

Poandl worked in the Savannah diocese, including Holy Cross Church, from 2007-2009 and 2010-2012.

According to, Poandl, 73, who is dying of cancer, could have been sentenced up to 10 years in prison. However Judge Michael Barrett said he took Poandl’s health into consideration and recommended Poandl serve his time in a medical facility.

When allegations against Poandl surfaced in February 2012, he was removed from his duties pending an investigation by the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners of which he was a member.

At the time, Poandl denied any wrongdoing but he stepped away from his ministries and returned to Cincinnati pending completion of the investigation.

When formal charges were filed against him in November 2012, Poandl voluntarily surrendered to authorities.

Federal jurors in Cincinnati in September found him guilty of taking the minor across state lines with the intent of engaging in sex.

The Rev. Chet Artysiewicz, president of Glenmay Home Missioners, said his heart was broken for all who had been impacted by the “tragic situation.”

“I respect and accept the decision of the 12 jurors. … Sexual abuse is a heinous crime. … While the jury has rendered its verdict, I realize this does not mark the end of the pain involved in this situation. Today, more than ever, I pray that God’s love and compassion will lead to healing for all involved, especially the victim and his family,” Artysiewicz said.

Prior to being sentenced, Poandl repeated that he was innocent and would pray for the victim and all victims of sexual abuse.

“I am repulsed by the notion of child sexual abuse,” he said.

Poandl also said he would pray for all priests wrongly accused of abuse “as I find myself the victim of that as well.”

David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the sentencing doesn’t mean the book is closed on Poandl.

“Because Fr. Poandl was in ministry so long at so many places — as recently as 2012 — there could be even more recent victims,” said Clohessy. “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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