Presented by David Harper to the United States District Court,
Southern District of Ohio,
February 12, 2014
Victim Impact Statement
I cannot possibly convey the swath of destruction that lay in Robert Poandl’s wake. We all create ripple effects in the universe around us. These ripple effects can be negative, positive or something in between. I have no doubt Robert helped many people and did many good works, making positive ripple effects. His family and friends are convinced of his innocence which both he and I know is amazing. It attests to the power of faith and love. How anyone could sit through his trial and not be convinced of his guilt is remarkable; Robert certainly did not react when a jury of his peers found him guilty.
The sad fact is his family and friends do not truly know him. No person can completely know the depths of another person but they are not even close to knowing his true nature. Unfortunately, I was exposed to his true nature in August of 1991 and have been in a living hell much of the time since. I was a kind and trusting child from a modest family, but that ended that night. He used my parents’ faith in God and Catholicism against them. They too were blinded by faith and love. He preyed on the weak and the poor. He preyed on children to satisfy his own deviant sexual desires. He dropped a nuclear bomb on my psyche. These negative ripple effects did not stop with me. They do not stop with his victims but are transferred to those around them. The angry child who felt betrayed by his parents and by God raged against those who he saw as his betrayers. He saw the world as one without meaning or God. He could not reconcile an omniscient and omnipotent God who loved him with the reality of being handed over to a servant of this God by his mother and then anally raped and told he had in some way sinned. This child who had prodigious potential both in physical and mental capacities saw a world around him devoid of love and honesty. He saw hypocrisy everywhere he looked. Give all you have to the poor and come follow me juxtaposed to jeweled golden chalices, ornate decorations and tithing. Confess your sins juxtaposed to the systematic protection of pedophiles within the Catholic Church. That which you do to the least of my people that which you do unto me juxtaposed to his rape and his parents’ admiration for the rapist. He used to love hearing his mother hum church hymns after mass but afterwards it felt like shards of glass sticking into his mind; had she known he wondered. He could not stop this cascade of negativity and hatred. He wanted to be loved and accepted but at the same time was furious with those who were supposed to provide this love and protect him. He became a fountain of misplaced rage. He found outlets for these dark and powerful feelings in football and substance abuse. He wrote dark tales and drew demons. He put tape on his helmet and wrote the word pain. He inscribed the word hate on his mouth piece. He was plagued by reoccurring nightmares of the abuse. There was no sanctuary from the mental anguish. It has been said memory says it is so; pride says it cannot be so; eventually memory yields to pride. Unfortunately for me and my family, my memory works too well for this. It is seared into my mind like a hot brand into flesh. Unfortunately for Robert’s victims, early childhood sexual abuse proves this line of logic to be fallacy. In my adolescence and until recently, I was ashamed that I had been raped. No man wants to look his father or brothers in the eyes and tell them how they were abused. People with good intentions have recommended books written by women about rape not understanding my self-image as a man was greatly damaged. I have been to one SNAP meeting and talked to another victim of his named Jeff. The things I heard; I do not know how anyone can let it go and be so positive but I am trying my best. The substance abuse spiraled out of control and in many ways stinted my potential and poisoned my soul. I came very close to blackening my own soul by seeking vengeance against him and I came close to ending my own life when I decided I could not commit cold-blooded, premeditated murder. It takes a special type of person who is twisted and evil to carry out such heinous crimes as murder or rape with such premeditation as I contemplated and he carried out. He has no idea how close I came to killing him. He has no idea what it is like for that impulse to remain. I plotted and planned a murder. I hurt my future wife and mate Lauren; she has undergone undue misdirected anger and undue stress from this process. Robert put hate into my heart.