An Atlanta-area man has filed a police report charging that a Savannah Catholic priest molested him as a child, and clergy sex abuse victims are prodding Georgia church officials to widely publicize the latest allegations against the recently-ousted cleric.
Leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are concerned about Fr. Robert F. Poandl. They want Poandl put in a secure treatment center, so that kids will be safer, and they want Georgia church officials to “stop being passive and start being compassionate” by seeking out others who’ve been hurt by the cleric.
Specifically, they’re asking Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory and Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer to personally visit each place where Fr. Poandl worked and reach out to any other victims, urging them to call police.
SNAP members are leafleting today outside the Christ the King Cathedral, 2699 Peachtree Road Northeast (corner of Peachtree Way NE) in Atlanta, the symbolic center of the Atlanta archdiocese. Later, they are holding a news conference outside the Atlanta Archdiocese headquarters, 2401 Lake Park Dr. S.E., Smyrna, GA
Earlier this year and for the second time in three years, Fr Poandl was suspended from Georgia Catholic parishes because of alleged child sex crimes. Now, an Atlanta-area man is reporting that he too was sexually violated by the cleric and has filed a police report.
Poandl’s most recent assignments were in Claxton, Pembroke, and Sandhill in the Savannah diocese (September 2010 to February 2012). But Poandl also worked in two towns in the Atlanta archdiocese (Blairsville from 1982-88 and Dahlonega from 1980-81).
In February 2012, he was sent back from Georgia to the Cincinnati area where he worked once - by his direct supervisor, Father Chet Artysiewicz, who heads a Fairfield, OH-based Catholic religious order called the Glenmary Home Missioners. In 2010, Poandl was accused of molesting a Cincinnati boy in West Virginia in 1991. A criminal case involving those allegations was dropped after a judge questioned some of the evidence. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/07_08/2010_08_30_Clevenger_RoaneJudge.htm
In March, 2010, SNAP wrote to Archbishop Gregory (and several other bishops) urging them to use their diocesan websites, newspapers, and parish bulletins to urge other victims and witnesses to contact law enforcement. Had Gregory and Glenmary officials done this, SNAP suspects, other Poandl victims might have stepped forward sooner and the alleged child molesting cleric would likely have been kept away from children sooner.(Only the Tyler TX bishop honored SNAP’s request.)
Besides Ohio and Georgia, Poandl worked in Kentucky (Franklin), Louisiana (New Orleans), Pennsylvania (Mifflintown and Doylesburg), Mississippi (Aberdeen), Oklahoma (Hugo) and Texas (Pittsburgh and Mount Vernon). He is originally from Metuchen, N.J. and studied in Ohio, Indiana and Mexico.
A photo of Poandl is available at BishopAccountability.org