Priest found guilty of sex charges

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Priest found guilty of sex charges

A Catholic priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy 22 years ago was found guilty of sex charges in federal court Friday.

Rev. Robert Poandl, of Fairfield-based Glenmary Home Missioners, was found guilty of one count of transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the intent of engaging him in sex, a charge that carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

No bond was set on Poandl. He was ordered to have no contact with minors and will be fitted with a global tracking device.

Poandl, 72, took the boy to Spencer, W.Va., on Aug. 3, 1991, and raped him while visiting a church there, prosecutors said. Poandl’s attorney, Stephen Wenke, told jurors the allegations were false and denied the boy was even on the trip.

The accuser, who’s now in his 30s, waited until 2009 before telling law enforcement officials in West Virginia that he’d been abused. Poandl was indicted there on charges accusing him of sexually abusing the boy, but a judge dismissed those charges in 2010.

Assistant U.S. attorney Tim Oakley told jurors that the priest told the boy’s parents he needed someone to ride with him to keep him awake and navigate and then raped the boy after they arrived at the West Virginia church. But Wenke said the accuser’s story changed through the years and was full of inconsistencies.

The latest charge was filed last year in Cincinnati. The trial began Monday after U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett had earlier rejected a defense motion to dismiss the case over a statute of limitations. The judge ruled the prosecution clearly alleged an offense involving sexual abuse of a child, and federal law permits prosecution of child sexual abuse at any time during the life of the accuser.

The Glenmary religious order is a society of priests and brothers who dedicate themselves to establishing a Catholic presence in rural areas and small towns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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