Priest enters not guilty plea in child sex case

During Monday’s hearing, the Rev. Robert Frank Poandl, 71, also entered a plea of not guilty on the sole charge of transporting a minor across state lines for illicit purposes, according to Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. If convicted, Poandl faces up to 10 years in prison.

Alverson said Poandl will be released from custody later Monday evening after the GPS monitoring has been set-up and the remaining paperwork is completed. Poandl has been held in the Butler County Jail since voluntarily turning himself in to the FBI last Thursday following his Nov. 14 indictment. The case has been assigned to Judge Michael Barrett.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Poandl had transported a 10-year old boy from Cincinnati to West Virginia in August 1991 where he is alleged to have sexually assaulted the child, and that he has substantial international travel and connections across the country which makes him a flight risk. The crime was not disclosed until the victim came forward, according to the FBI’s Cincinnati field office.

Following Poandl’s arrest, Glenmary Missioners released a statement on its website that said the charges are related to a June 2009 accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor said to have occurred in 1991 in Spencer, W.Va. Those charges against Poandl were dismissed by a West Virginia court in August 2010 and his record was expunged.

On Feb. 11, 2012, Poandl was relieved of his ministerial duties as pastor of Glenmary’s missions in Claxton, Pembroke and Sand Hill, Ga., following an allegation of sexual misconduct. Since that time, he has been living under a safety plan at Glenmary’s campus in Fairfield and has not been functioning as a Roman Catholic priest.

Glenmary Missioner’s policy is to set up a safety plan when someone is accused of sexual misconduct, said Jean Bach, communications director. Bach said the plan puts certain standards in place for that individual and make sure that person is never off campus. If there is a need to leave campus, they are accompanied by a fellow Glenmarian priest to ensure his whereabouts are known at all times.

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