A priest convicted of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago was sentenced Wednesday to 7½ years in federal prison.
Robert Poandl, 72, a priest with the Fairfield-based Glenmary Home Missioners, was convicted in September of the Mann Act, which is transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the intent of engaging him in sex. He could have received up to 10 years.
Federal prosecutors say Poandl took the boy to Spencer, W.Va., in 1991 and raped him while visiting a church there.
Poandl, who is suffering from cancer, continued to deny those allegations even as U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett sentenced him Wednesday in Cincinnati.
Defense attorneys filed a motion last week urging a lighter sentence for Poandl, noting he would likely die from cancer before the end of the year.
“He suffers from significant health problem, notably stage IV urothelial cancer. According to scientific data, there is a high likelihood that Father Poandl will die from cancer before the end of 2014. He has no prior criminal history and has worked steadily his entire adult life. He presents little risk to anyone,” attorney Stephen J. Wenke write in the motion.
His accuser, who is now 32, waited until 2009 to report the incident to police in West Virginia. Poandl was indicted on charges in a West Virginia court for sexually abusing the boy. However, a judge dismissed those charges.
A federal grand jury indicted Poandl, known as “Father Bob,” in November 2012. FBI agents arrested him at the Glenmary Missioners. He was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring following his arrest. Following today’s hearing, Poandl was placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals to begin serving his sentence immediately.
In 2009, Poandl was removed as pastor of three missions and has not publicly functioned as a priest since then. Glenmary officials said he still remains a Roman Catholic priest.
Father Chet Artysiewicz, Glenmary’s president, released a statement through the religious order’s website.
“From the time I first learned of the charges against Father Poandl, my daily prayer—and that of the Glenmary community—has been for truth and a just resolution,” Artysiewicz said. “Today’s sentencing in another step in the legal process in which we placed our trust.”
Poandl worked in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati three times, according to SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. SNAP, a Chicago-based group, said Catholic officials transferred him about 30 times in 44 years.
He served in assignments in 10 states including Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Georgia and West Virginia.
“That alone is a serious red flag,” said Judy Jones of SNAP. “A number of bishops and other church officials have acted dreadfully in this case, even in recent years.”
Staff Writer Lauren Pack contributed to this report.