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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Attacked by Judge, Media, Parish etc, Survivor Perseveres and Fr. Robert Poandl Gets Convicted

(Reprint, Originally posted here Sept. 30, 2013.  Today the priest will be sentenced.)
By Kay Ebeling

Nowhere is the church's strategy to attack the victim more obvious than in the case of Father Robert Poandl, convicted in federal court September 20 of transporting a minor across state lines for illicit purposes.   

Falsely Accused of Falsely Accusing
It became open season for attacks on the accuser in August 2010 when molestation charges against Poandl were dismissed in Roane County, West Virginia.  The judge badmouthed the accuser in open court and defense attorneys made false claims about the crime victim to reporters.  Church devotees went online with adoring comments about the priest and hateful assumptions about the victim. David Pierre devoted an entire chapter to Father Poandl being “Falsely Accused” in one of his books.  The day of the dismissal a guy named Steve in the UK wrote me that I need to update a blog post from April 2010 about Poandl’s indictment because, the emailer wrote, “This good man has been devastated by someone seeking a large payout.”  

Worse yet, after his dismissal Father Bob Poandl himself wrote to parishioners of the Holy Redeemer parish in Spencer, West Virginia, in a letter to be read at Mass: 

"Of course, I had known that this man was not trustworthy from the moment that he accused me. I knew that I had not hurt him in any way, let alone committed that terrible crime against him. Because of some very sad history in our Church, my word was strongly questioned." (As reported in  The Charleston Gazette at WV 

In September 2010, City of Angels Blog developed a post about the case against Poandl having just been dismissed. Moments before I hit the publish button, the accuser’s brother emailed and I agreed to wait until after the case had been resolved before publishing anything about Poandl.  So now three years later here is the story, and clean transcripts of those interviews are published here

In keeping with the media’s coverage of last month’s trial, we are not publishing the victim's name, instead referring to him here only as GH, as in “Got Him.”

“I want to see him behind bars.  I never filed a civil suit.  I want to keep him away from other kids.” (Poandl accuser, GH, August 2010).   
How did GH react to the attacks on him after Poandl's dismissal?  

“Since I came forward, it’s so unbelievable that they would react this way.  It’s like you're reading a fiction book,” GH told me by phone in August 2010.  

How the case was dismissed in that Spencer, West Virginia courtroom in August 2010 is in itself a study in Catholic Church manipulating and controlling the justice system.  In Accuser GH’s own words: 

"I had one-day notice of the motion to dismiss.  It all happened over the phone. They were in a court setting, and I was sitting in Ohio in Poandl’s defense attorneys’ offices by myself.  

"During the hearing Roane County DA Josh Downey only objected one time.  The defense honed in on the medical records. 

"They tried to steamroll us, we've got affidavits.  They claim I manipulated the medical records.  Fifty two pages of medical records was provided by the doctors me and that's what I provided to the court.

"The medical records that were missing [which caused the 2010 case to be dismissed] concerned a totally unrelated incident.  In 8th grade, three years later I was attacked by two guys, both received felonious assault charges

"That incident had absolutely nothing to do with the incident."

The priest’s story is that the whole trip never happened.  He’s not just calling my brother a liar, but my mother and me as well.   

in West Virginia
in GH’s own words

“I had to take a week off work for the upcoming trial, and make reservations to stay a week in a hotel.  Problem is we're facing the Glenmarys [Poandl's religious order] and they don't bat an eye at hiring six hundred dollar an hour lawyers.

“Defense attorney Anita Ashley is one lawyer by herself, they also hired Dimsmoor.  That's one of the highest priced law firms in Cincinnati.  They have big nice offices.”

GH’s brother is an attorney and told me in August 2010:

“They lied, they accused my brother of destroying medical records, their private investigator knew that wasn’t true, and they created a false impression

“Defense counsel wrote the Judge’s order, when the judge dismissed the case. 

“A team of at least five high paid defense attorneys came up against this one small town in West Virginia with a DA who was two years out of law school.”

GH told me in August 2010 about how he came to pursue charges:  

“I've been living with this a long time.  Recently I found out where Poandl was from the Glenmarry website.  I want to see him behind bars.  I never filed a civil suit.  I want to keep him away from other kids.

"I realized he is in Claxton, Georgia, and he’s going to be around children.  He’s in a position of authority and trust, and the parishioners aren’t even aware of what he’s done."

GH’s family filed a Motion for Reconsideration hoping the Roane County DA would follow-up.  He didn't.

GH’s brother said to me in August 2010:

"I don't want this pedophile to not be prosecuted. 

"The priest’s story is that the whole trip never happened.  He’s not just calling my brother a liar, but my mother and me as well.   I remember Poandl coming by, I remember my mother asking me to go and I didn't want to.

"I thought Poandl was creepy [LAUGHS] I do remember thinking he was creepy."

and they believe him

Poandl wrote to the priest and parishioners of the Holy Redeemer parish in Spencer, written Saturday before Poandl left for New Jersey to be with his family.
Poandl thanked them for their prayers and kindness.
"Of course, I had known that this man was not trustworthy from the moment that he accused me. I knew that I had not hurt him in any way, let alone committed that terrible crime against him," Poandl wrote. "I also know that such lying makes it all the harder for any true victim of such a crime to come forth and be believed. But until Friday and the court ruling, it was simply my word against [his] -- and because of some very sad history in our Church, my word was strongly questioned."

As reported in  The Charleston Gazette at WV

“The kid made the whole thing up,” David Pierre writes quoting one of the priest’s defense attorneys. 
In his book, Priests Falsely Accused, David Pierre can barely contain his glee as he devotes an entire chapter to besmirching the character of the child sex crime victim in this case and piling adoration on the now convicted priest, Robert Poandl.  Pierre relishes the wording of the Judge’s order dismissing the first case against Poandl saying, 
“In his order dismissing the case, the judge really let the accuser have it.” 

Pierre writes, “The accuser proved himself to be completely untrustworthy, which should not have been surprising, because as the case had moved closer to trial, the claims against the priest began to disintegrate.”

Pierre continues:  “The kid made the whole thing up."

Then quoting Church attorney Ashley:  “‘The judge concluded [the accuser] was not credible’ the lawyer [for Poandl] continued, ‘You can’t trust him.  They were trying to manipulate the evidence to convict an innocent man.’”

More from Ashley in Pierre's book, “From the beginning it was clear to me that this man [Poandl] was innocent.”

Followed by Pierre’s exculpatory conclusion:

“In over 40 years in ministry, Fr. Poandl had never been accused of any other impropriety before.”

Yes, poor innocent Father Bob
Found guilty in Federal Court three years later. 

At bottom of this post is a response from Pierre about the conviction of Father Poandl. 
No he has no plan to apologize or rescind Chapter Five of his book.  

After the beating this “accuser” went through to get his perpetrator priest convicted, 

GH is a true hero. 

Read Roane County Court Order posted here at Bishop Accountability.  Or read about Poandle there under P in the database about 3/4 of the way down.



The defense seeks a dismissal with prejudice or an order prohibiting [NAME REDACTED] the accuser, from testifying. If [NAME REDACTED] is prohibited from testifying, the State has no case. If a continuance is granted, there is no assurance that the records will even then be furnished. Given the history of [NAME REDACTED] the Court cannot trust that he will cooperate.

(He read that out loud, including the accuser's name, that day in court.  More from the Judge’s dismissal order:)

“The failure to provide information to defense counsel (By the Accuser) denies the defendant the opportunity to have a fair trial and to present information to the jury trial which might be exculpatory.”

(WHAT?  All they were going to use for evidence in defense or prosecution was the victim’s medical records?)

(How Did it “hamper preparation and presentation of the defendant's case” not to have one page of the victim’s medical records about a broken arm in eighth grade, three years after the WV incident?  A continuance would be “disruptive on the administration of justice.” A continuance so the victim could track down more medical records would be a “prejudice to the defendant”)

The Nondisclosure (in about six weeks from date of order to date of trial)
the non-disclosure operates as a, surprise to the defendant and hampers the defendant's ability, to prepare and present the case at trial

“They lied,” said GH’s brother in 2010. 

Well, guess what, it took three more years, but Father Robert Poandl is on his way to prison. 


Email from UK defending Poandl

After that August 2010 hearing, as I researched the story for City of Angels Blog, I found comments at the August 2010 story about the dismissal at Religious Douchebag blog sampled here, that give you an idea of the blind besotted admiration parishioners pour on priests accused of pedophilia.

And where are all these commenters today?

Are any of them coming out now and apologizing for their knee-jerk twisted-theologically infused hate-filled frenzy against a child sex crime victim? 

Sample of more than 110 comments  at Religious Douchebags BlogWe are leaving in the misspelled words etcetera in these comments as they reveal so much, and the conversation continued through 2012.
Anonymous wrote on August 30, 2010:
This case was a travesty from the beginning. There was a lot more to the dismissal than "discover issues". There was an endless stream of inconsistencies and fabrications. The prosecutor should be emabarassed for having brought this case forward and ruining the reputation of a highly respected man. 
Another person named Anonymous wrote:
I hope that his accuser ran up heavy debts against the expected several hundred thousand dollar payout. Great news. This is a good man and a holy priest who has been heartbroken by this case, God bless him.
Another anonymous commenter came to GH’s defense saying:
The accuser was a child when Poandl raped him. You are one sad sick pathetic person. This is not a good man at all. He is a predator who is being shielded by local authorities. Looks like new cases have popped up. I wonder how an innocent man could inspire multiple victims. 
Another Comment: 
Oh yeah..There was no "lottery win here". No one getting rich. A victime with NOTHING TO GAIN calling out the RAPIST PRIEST. The pedophile a
In February 2012 the conversation was still going strong in the comments: 
I met Poandl when I was kid and this man is an honest and good guy. (Feb 21, 2012, 12:45 PM)
ONE MORE COMMENT from these ardent Catholics: 
"Discovery issues"---get your facts straight. This fabrication should never have gotten this far. Not one iota of fact, just some one "remembering" something happened to them almost 20 years ago and wanting a payout.
Where did all these people come from, I wonder.  

Comments are from the story at this link

who never met the priest

Praise and defense of Father Bob Poandl stretched all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.  In April 2010 I posted this Roundup at City of Angels Blog which barely mentions Fr. Bob Poandl, as in the post I was applauding a Texas archdiocese for publishing notice (now removed) about a priest being indicted on its website. 

In August 2010 this email arrived from Steve in the UK who was convinced of Poandl’s innocence. 

Sent: Tue, August 31, 2010 1:40:29 PM
Subject: Father Bob Poandl
Hi, you might be interested to know that Father Bob has been cleared of all charges and the Judge who dismissed the case actually called his accuser a liar in court.
I trust that you will remove your post about this good man whose life has been devastated by this false accusation.’

To which I replied
Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 23:02 
I'm sorry, I can't find the post and don't remember it, do you have the link?

From Steve:

So I went to the post and updated it that the charges were dropped and emailed Steve back:

FROM: City of Angels Lady
Okay, updated, but this dismissal does not mean he's innocent. Sorry, but most the 5,500 priests in U.S. identified as pedophile predators in the U.S. are not judged guilty in our screwed up criminal court system, this dismissal does not make him innocent.
As far as I'm concerned anyone who continues to be a priest in this epidemic is as guilty as the rest, you can't be surrounded by all this filth and think there is nothing wrong, and the same goes for parishioners who apologize for these perverts.

To which Steve replied from his all knowing post somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean:

YOU don't know this good man who has been devastated by someone seeking a large payout

To which I replied:
1 priest is more important than 1 hundred thousand victims, that's why so many of us were raped.  The whole church is corrupt for letting this happen, sorry you can't see that. 

And Steven then wrote:

I know that you have been grievously hurt but I hope that you will understand that some innocent priests have also been grievously hurt and hurting the innocent will not help the innocent children who have been harmed.  To be called a pedophile when you are not one is about the most terrible thing that can happen to an adult male and this poor priest has had his name plastered all over the internet when he did nothing. 

He then added a link to These Stone Walls and the communication ended.  I put Steve on my email list until he protested so often that I stopped sending him updates.  Too bad, he really needs educating. 

That series of emails aroused my curiosity so I followed up and learned a lot about Poandl, interviewed the victim, and kept track of the case, although at the request of the accuser, held back on posting anything until the federal indictment came to fruition, which it did last week when Father Bob was found guilty of taking a boy over state lines for illicit purposes (sodomizing a ten year old boy). 

And it was only the taking of the boy across state lines that finally got the priest convicted. 

“They lied,” said GH’s brother to me in 2010. "Don't publish anything yet, we are pursuing a Federal indictment."
 Background on this story is also here
I want to know where the groundswell of support for this priest come from, that ended up with a concerned Catholic from the UK writing to me convinced the priest, who he had never met, was innocent.  I kind of regret that this story did not get published back in 2010 as City of Angels Blog is not real active right now. 

Still I read with satisfaction the news that Robert Poandl was found guilty last week.  I had a file or two full of information about this case. 

So here I am publishing what's left of that story

And GH and his brother are heroes. 

Here is Priests Falsely Accused Chapter Five, all of it. 

i am waiting now to hear from David Pierre if he plans to rescind this whole chapter from the book. 

David Pierre responds: 

There are scores of criminal priests who deserve to be in prison because of their heinous crimes, but I don't believe that Fr. Robert Poandl is one of them. I think Poandl was wrongly convicted.

Fr. Poandl was put in the extremely difficult position of having to claim hedidn't do something 22 years ago.
Yet even so, evidence was presented at trial that showed that the allegations could not possibly have happened on the date that the accuser claimed.
If that's not 'reasonable doubt' for an acquittal, I don't know what is.
Yet a jury actually convicted Poandl. Go figure.
To me, this tells more about the inherent public bias in 2013 against Catholic priests than the actual veracity of the charges.

In addition, the accuser - who was closely aided by his brother, an attorney - had over three years to answer the numerous problems that were raised since a state judge threw this case out of court withprejudice
This accuser was found attempting to deceive the court by illegally withholding important evidence - evidence that may have exonerated Fr. Poandl.
This was also an accuser who claimed that he was courted by Division I football schools - even though he barely played the game and quit after his sophomore year. He quit, he says, because of Poandl, of course.
And his criminal drug use? That was Poandl's fault, too, apparently.

And did I mention that the accuser originally said that the assault - for which there was not a shred of medical evidence - happened in a totally different town and in a totally different year?

That's not "attacking the victim." Those are facts, and criminal cases are built on facts.

In the end, of course, the only two people who know if this event actually happened are Fr. Poandl and the accuser. A much higher authority will eventually judge this episode and the individuals involved.

I am praying for all parties in this case, especially Fr. Poandl, who is now suffering from Stage IV cancer.


It's like listening to your Tea Party uncle insist Obama Care is Socialism.  You can't get through to them, their minds are made up, they would rather believe what they want to believe, will grasp at any thread that says a priest is innocent rather than admit six thousand priests raped kids in the USA alone in recent history. They want the survivors to be making it up rather than believe what is real and right in front of them.  

So frustrating. 

Posted by Kay Ebeling, Blogger
UPDATE: Feb. 12, 2014
I swear there is angelic intervention in this blog.  I woke up this AM and just had an urge to post this reprint, did not read until hours later that Poandl is set to be sentenced today. 

Ohio priest to be sentenced in W.Va. child abuse

Seattle PI
CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio priest convicted of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago is set to be sentenced.
Federal jurors found Robert Poandl (POHN'-duhl) guilty in September of transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the intent of engaging him in sex. Poandl could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison Wednesday in Cincinnati.

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