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Former NE Ga. priest jailed in 91 abuse case
Possible victims encouraged to step forward
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Roman Catholic priest accused of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago was jailed on Thursday.

The Rev. Robert Poandl previously worked at St. Luke’s in Dahlonega, St. Paul the Apostle in Cleveland from 1979 to 1981 and St. Francis of Assisi in Blairsville from 1979 to 1988.

Poandl was most recently at the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners, and is now in Butler County Jail in southwest Ohio following an order by a federal magistrate judge that he be taken into custody.

Poandl voluntarily surrendered to the FBI after learning of the charge, Glenmary said in a statement. An indictment in Cincinnati federal court on Wednesday accused Poandl of taking the boy on Aug. 3, 1991, but didn’t list specifics.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta did not respond to messages left by The Times.

The website for St. Francis of Assisi in Blairsville made extensive mention of Poandl in the “Parish History” of the “Our Parish” section.

“In July of 1979, Fr. Bob Poandl became pastor. Like his predecessors, he was assigned the parish in Dahlonega with missions in Cleveland and Blairsville. He continued in this capacity until March 4th, 1982, when he became the first resident pastor of St. Francis with the mission of St. Paul in Cleveland,” the page read.

According to the website, Poandl was the first resident pastor when the church changed from mission to parish status.

A statement from Glenmary Home Missioners, a society of priests and brothers who say they’re dedicated to establishing a Catholic presence in rural areas and small towns, said the indictment is related to a June 2009 accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor in Spencer, W.Va.

The Glenmary statement also said that the religious order has until Dec. 19 to provide documents and other information pertaining to Poandl to the U.S. attorney’s office under a subpoena issued for them.

In February, Glenmary said it had relieved Poandl of ministerial duties in three Georgia communities and asked him to return to the Glenmary residence in Cincinnati.

Poandl has been living under what the order calls “a safety plan” at the Cincinnati residence and has not been functioning as a priest, Glenmary’s statement said.

Glenmary president Father Chet Artysiewicz said the order could not comment on the investigation.

“We have just learned of these charges today, and we are working to fully comply with the subpoena and cooperate with investigators,” Artysiewicz said in a statement.

Poandl’s attorney declined to comment.

In 2010, a judge in West Virginia dismissed charges that accused Poandl of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy while they visited a church there in 1991.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a statement.

“We are grateful to this brave victim for cooperating with law enforcement authorities and trying to protect other kids from horrific child sex crimes by this predator priest,” he said. “Father Poandl is a shrewd child molester.

But even cunning criminals are sometimes caught.”

He encouraged possible victims to step forward.

“We beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Father Poandl’s crimes to speak up, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing,” he stated in the release.

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