When SOL doesn’t stand in the way, justice is possible

Prosecutor says Ohio priest raped boy in W.Va.

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio priest took a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago and raped him there, later praying with the boy for forgiveness, a federal prosecutor told jurors Monday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Oakley made the allegation in opening statements in the trial of Robert Poandl, from the Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners. Poandl has pleaded not guilty to a charge of knowingly transporting a minor in interstate commerce for sex. The charge was filed 21 years after the abuse allegedly occurred while the two visited a church in Spencer, W.Va.

“This is a case about trust,” Oakley told jurors.

He said Poandl violated the trust that the boy had in the priest and changed his life forever. The previously mild-mannered boy changed after that night in 1991, becoming involved with drugs and other problems, Oakley said.

But Poandl’s attorney said evidence will show the allegations are false and that the priest did not even make the trip with the boy.

“The accusation does not match reality,” attorney Stephen Wenke said.

The accuser made statements to law enforcement officials in 2009 and Wenke said many of them will be shown to be false.

The trial began after U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett 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 under age 18. 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.