A Catholic priest who
worked in five Mississippi towns is going to prison for molesting a young boy.
According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a US federal court
judge in Cincinnati has sentenced Fr. Robert Poandl to 7.5 years
behind bars for taking a ten year old Ohio boy to Spencer, WV and sexually
abusing him in 1991.
Poandl worked in the Jackson diocese between 1968-1973 at five parishes:
St. Francis in Aberdeen, St. Helen's in Armory, Immaculate Heart of Mary in
Houston, St. Theresa's in Okolona, and Christ the King in Fulton. Catholic
officials transferred him about 30 times in 44 years.
"That alone is a serious red flag," said Judy Jones of SNAP, 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 is what bishops
in each diocese where Fr. Poandl worked should have done years ago and should
SNAP is calling on
Jackson Catholic officials 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
post his guilty verdict and sentence on parish and diocesan web sites and in
diocese newspapers and church bulletins.
SNAP tells us that 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, GA., and WV.
In June 2009, his
church supervisors suspended Poandl from three Georgia parishes because of
child sex abuse allegations.
In Sept. 2010, those
church officials put 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 Aug. 2012, a third
child sex abuse allegation was made against Poandl.
In Nov. 2012, he was
indicted on federal charges, and in Nov. 2013, 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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