Priest indicted on molestation charges

Charleston Daily Mail/February 3, 2010

Charleston, West Virginia - State Police say an Ohio priest has been indicted on molestation charges stemming from an incident that occurred in a Roane County church 18 years ago.

Sgt. Michael Baylous, spokesman for the State Police, said Tuesday that Fr. Robert F. Poandl of Cincinnati was indicted Jan. 26 by a Roane County grand jury.

He was charged with first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a custodian.

Sgt. D.B. Swiger, an investigator with the Crimes Against Children Unit, said Tuesday that the victim, now 28 years old and living in Cincinnati, filed a complaint with the State Police in June 2009. Swiger said the alleged incident occurred in 1991, when the victim was 10.

Poandl, a New Jersey native, serves with Glenmary Home Missioners, a Cincinnati-based organization that sends priests into rural areas, mainly in the South and Appalachian area, to establish churches and nurture growing Catholic communities. He has been with the organization since 1959.

Swiger said Poandl traveled to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Spencer in 1991 to fill in for the church's regular priest and the boy traveled with him. The investigator said the priest was a friend of the boy's family.

The victim told troopers Poandl molested him in the church's rectory.

Swiger said investigators were able to find enough evidence in the 18-year-old case to present to the Roane prosecutor, who then presented the information to a grand jury.

Poandl was arraigned Thursday on the charges and released on bond.

A statement issued by the Cincinnati chapter of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, praised the victim for coming forward to police and thanked officers for taking the case seriously.

The group's statement also was critical of the Cincinnati Archdiocese and Glenmary Home Missionaries for not taking a more public stance on the matter when they were informed of it last summer.

SNAP is a self-help group made of up victims and survivors of abuse at the hands of clergy members. The group was founded in 1989.

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