Letter to Bishop Schnurr

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 6416
Chicago, IL 60680-6416

February 4, 2010
via email to Chancellor Rev. Joseph R. Binzer

Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati
100 East 8th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Dear Archbishop Schnurr,

We are writing today about the Cincinnati area priest who was criminally indicted in West Virginia
recently for sexually abusing a child. On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, news media
reported that Rev. Robert F. Poandl, a priest of the Glenmary Home Missioners order
(headquartered in nearby Fairfield, OH in Butler County, within the territory of the Archdiocese of
Cincinnati) was indicted last month by the Roane County, WV grand jury for allegedly sexually
abusing a 10 year old Cincinnati boy in 1991 at Holy Redeemer Catholic parish rectory, in
Spencer, WV.

According to news reports and a statement issued Tuesday by the president of the Glenmary
order, Rev. Dan Dorsey, the abuse was reported in June 2009, at which time he notified law
enforcement officials in Ohio and West Virginia as well as the leadership of three Catholic
dioceses – Cincinnati OH, Wheeling-Charleston WV, and Savannah, GA. Sadly, officials with the
Glemary order and your Archdiocese of Cincinnati kept silent about the accusations until now.
Your own director of communications, Dan Andriacco, dismissed the matter Tuesday evening in a
statement to a local newspaper by saying that you as archbishop have no authority over priests of
religious orders, even though they happen to be located within your diocese. This is a callous and
indifferent cop out, and a poor excuse at worst. Your lack of willingness to help protect kids by
authorizing such a transparent rationalization is unseemly and detrimental to what you say is a
priority on your own website - the priority of protecting children. Is it OK with you if children are
only abused by non-diocesan priests? Of course it isn’t. Your director of communications should
be sacked for uttering such a thoughtless statement.

If you have no jurisdiction over non-diocesan priests and the priests in your territory who belong
to religious orders, why did Rev. Dorsey contact your office in June 2009 with news of the
allegation and subsequent suspension of Rev. Poandl? If you had no need to be notified of the
allegation, what was done with the notification? We request that you make this notice from the
Glenmary order available to the press and to the public as a gesture of transparency.

If you have no jurisdiction over non-diocesan priests and the priests in your territory who belong
to religious orders, why does the Archdiocese of Cincinnati website contain several “clergy alerts”
regarding several non Archdiocese of Cincinnati priests who are fugitive in some manner from
their parent diocese? These are listed under the “Protecting Children” heading on your website

Since you have been made aware by Rev. Dorsey in June 2009 that Rev. Poandl is now residing
at the Glenmary headquarters in Fairfield, have you notified the pastor, staff, and parishioners of
your own nearby parishes St. Gabriel in Glendale or Sacred Heart in Fairfield that a Catholic
priest under suspension and now indictment for the criminal sexual abuse of a child is living in
their midst? If so, when? Are their kids worth protecting by notifying their parents at least? You
know the answer to that question – of course they are, but are you doing all you can do to make
sure of that necessity?

Being victims ourselves of clergy abuse, we contend that Catholic staff in all three dioceses
should have disclosed the allegations months ago, instead of keeping quiet, and therefore putting
more kids at risk of being abused.

Secrecy and the time it buys give perpetrators opportunity to intimidate victims, threaten
witnesses, destroy evidence, and fabricate alibis. We feel the church hierarchy's silence also
violates the national church sex abuse policy which allegedly mandates "openness" in clergy sex
cases. Your silence in this matter is deafening and violates the spirit of the 2002 Dallas charter.

Archbishop, as you have recently commenced your new assignment here in Cincinnati, we are
looking at this problem as the first real test of your leadership here. We ask you to disclose
publicly exactly when and who of your staff first learned of the allegations against Poandl, and
that you publicly release any internal notices that may have been sent out to any priests who are
under your jurisdiction, warning about the presence of a suspended Glenmary priest living in your
territory while under investigation for the criminal sexual abuse of child. We also suggest that that
you publicly admonish the Glenmary order for its own secrecy and failure to do all it could to
protect children.

You should use your archdiocesan website, newspaper, and parish
bulletins to urge other victims and witnesses to contact law enforcement immediately if they know
or suspect any abuse by any of your employees, or by any Catholic priest living or working in your
archdiocese without respect to being under your specific jurisdiction. Not only are these are
simple, inexpensive, proven steps that both help heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable, it
is your moral responsibility to do all you can – indeed more than the minimum- to keep kids safe.

According to Internet sources, Poandl was assigned to many geographic locations during his
priesthood. While we are making no determination of guilt or innocence in this case, and in
keeping with the spirit of taking the side of keeping kids safe, we remind you that most sexual
abusers rarely have only a single victim, so there is a possibility that he has harmed more kids in
other regions. There is also a strong possibility that unless more victims and witnesses come
forward, law enforcement's case against him will not be strong enough and he may walk free,
only to harm again.

We hope you will decisively and quickly act in an affirmative manner to safeguard those at risk.
You are the top Catholic official in all of Ohio, and the only person higher than you on the Catholic
pecking order is the Pope himself. You do indeed have the authority to act affirmatively.
Glenmary’s Rev. Dorsey certainly does not out rank you, notwithstanding Mr. Andriacco’s attempt
to deflect the focus on your abilities Tuesday evening. You are the one person whose actions
more than your words can do the most to keep children safe. Please do not shirk this awesome


Daniel Frondorf
Cincinnati SNAP Leader
Cincinnati, Ohio
513-706-7403 and

David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790 cell and 314 645 5915 and

Judy Block Jones
SNAP Midwest Associate Director
636-433-2511 and

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