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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Tuesday, Sept. 14
Accused predator priest put back in parish
Yet criminal case against him may be appealed
Support group blasts Catholic officials in GA & OH
SNAP worries victims and children could be at risk
A Catholic priest is back in a Georgia parish even though West Virginia prosecutors are still weighing whether to appeal a criminal case against him.
According to a church web site, Fr. Robert Poandl has been returned to active ministry in Claxton, Pembroke and Sandhill, Ga. in the Savannah diocese.
Poandl alleged sexually abused a 10 year old boy in 1991 at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Spencer, WV. A grand jury indicted him on Jan. 26, 2010 on charges of first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a custodian, and his trial was to start August 30. But a judge dismissed the case because he found that prosecutors had withheld some records from Poandl’s defense lawyers.
Leaders of a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are upset by the priest’s reinstatement.
“At best, it’s premature and reckless,” said Judy Jones, SNAP’s Midwest Associate Director. "At worst, it’s designed to intimidate others who saw, suspected or suffered Poandl’s crimes into staying silent. Either way, it’s not the caring, prudent thing to do, especially since the criminal process isn’t exhausted.”
"Catholic officials have repeatedly promised they would put the safety of kids first and would keep credibly accused priests out of parishes," said SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy. "In this case, Savannah’s bishop and Poandl’s direct supervisor are violating these pledges. Poandl has, so far, essentially exploited a legal technicality. He hasn’t been ‘cleared.’ How will parents and parishioners feel if the West Virginia prosecutors convict him, knowing that their church hierarchy gave him access to more kids even after he was arrested?"
Prosecutors have roughly two months to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Poandl belongs to a Cincinnati-based religious order called the Glenmary Missionaries.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests