Former Tyler priest set to face charges

Published on Friday, 13 September 2013 20:17 - Written by By Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

A Catholic priest who formerly served in Tyler is set to go on trial in federal court in Ohio on Monday for the alleged sexual abuse of a child.

Fr. Robert Poandl faces federal child sex charges that he took a 10-year-old Cincinnati boy to West Virginia in August 1991 where he is alleged to have sexually assaulted the child.

Fr. Poandl worked in Pittsburg, in the Tyler Diocese, between 1994 and 1999.

At the time of the indictment in 2010, the bishop at the time of the Tyler Diocese, Bishop Rev. Alvaro Corrada, issued a request in parish bulletins for any victims who may be in Tyler to step forward.

"As bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, I wish to remind the people of East Texas of the importance of reporting to legal authorities all incidents of abuse," the bishop said in 2010. "The Diocese of Tyler is committed to cooperation with legal authorities in judicial actions."

However, Promoter of Justice for the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Father Gavin Vaverek, said that no one in Tyler has come forward about the matter since the announcement was made three years ago.

“We had no indication about any abuse,” he said. “We would have been surprised if anyone had come forward, but we were prepared.”

Representatives at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say that the kind of cooperation they received from the Tyler diocese is unusual, and still urge anyone in the Tyler Diocese to come forward with any information. Those who wish to come forward may contact law enforcement or SNAP.

“It’s never too late to share what you know or suspect with law enforcement officials,” said Judy Jones of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It’s up to us to pass on information. And it’s up to police and prosecutors to determine what will help them prosecute a criminal.”

Fr. Poandl belongs to a Fairfield Ohio-based Catholic religious order called the Glenmary Missioners. Besides Texas, he worked at churches and church assignments in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and Georgia.

“He has been transferred roughly 30 times in 44 years. That alone is a serious red flag,” said David Clohessy of SNAP in the written release.