Articles related to charges laid against Saint John, New Brunswick city councillor Donnie Snook

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Donnie Snook’s council seat declared vacant

Elections New Brunswick is holding byelections on May 13

CBC News

Posted: Jan 22, 2013 7:12 AM AT

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2013 9:41 AM AT

Saint John declared former councillor Donnie Snook’s Ward 3 seat officially vacant on Monday night and will request a byelection from Elections New Brunswick.

Saint John council unanimously declared Snook’s seat vacant on Monday night, a necessary first step in filling the Ward 3 seat.

“There was a motion that was passed there earlier [Monday night] that will, as I understand, commence the process for triggering the byelection and the chief electoral officer for the province is probably the best person to address the exact timing of that,” Saint John Mayor Mel Norton said.

Snook sent in a hand-written resignation letter from his jail cell last week.

Donnie Snook's Ward 3 seat on Saint John council was officially vacated on Monday night.

Donnie Snook’s Ward 3 seat on Saint John council was officially vacated on Monday night. (CBC)

Snook, 41, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession.

Snook is expected to enter pleas on eight child exploitation charges on March 11 and will remain in jail until that court appearance.

Under the Municipalities Act, the city clerk has 10 days to notify the municipal electoral officer of the vacancy.

The next regularly-scheduled round of municipal byelections across the province is set for May 13.

Byelections will also be held in Baker-Brook, Bertrand, Charlo, Memramcook, Saint-André, and Saint-François-de-Madawaska on May 13.

Nominations will open on March 30 and close on April 19. There will be a day of advance voting on May 4.

There were seven candidates running in Ward 3 in last year’s municipal election.

Snook won 2,303 votes and Coun. Donna Reardon won the ward’s second seat with 1,941 votes. Patrick McCaffrey came in third with 1,142 votes followed by Christine Belyea, Albert Vincent and Graeme Stewart-Robertson.

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Accused sex offender has west coast connection

Photo: Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal

Councillor Donnie Snook is led down Chipman Hill by RCMP officers to Provincial court where he was charged with eight sex offences.

Gary Kean Published on January 22, 2013
Gary Kean 

 

With files from TC Media

MOUNT MORIAH  The former city councillor in Saint John, N.B., accused of numerous sex offences, once spent a year working in western Newfoundland.

Donnie Snook, 41, is currently in custody in New Brunswick, where eight charges have been filed against him, including sexual interference with a child under 16, possession of child pornography and making child pornography.

He resigned his seat on city council after he was arrested at his home Jan. 9. He was scheduled to have a bail hearing in Saint John on Monday, but that did not happen and his matters have been set over until March 11.

In his early 20s, Snook spent one year as an officer of the former Salvation Army Citadel in Mount Moriah. In that role, he was commissioned to be the church’s senior pastor.

Bill Porter was involved in the citadel up until it closed its doors around four years ago. He was involved when Snook came from eastern Newfoundland as the Army’s commissioned officer some two decades ago.

“You couldn’t ask for a finer young gentleman,” Porter recalled.

“He was a good man with church affairs and with the youth in the church … He would have handled the affairs of the senior corps. He didn’t have a lot of time for youth, but he did make time.”

At some point along the citadel’s history, Porter served in the commissioned post of young person’s sergeant major. In that role, he would have been in charge of the Sunday school and its programs.

Porter is not sure if he was in charge of the Sunday school at any point while Snook was the citadel’s officer.

“He would not have had a lot to do with the Sunday school,” said Porter. “There were people in place to take care of it. He was there most Sundays because that was his job but, for the most part, local people were commissioned soldiers in the Salvation Army and we did most of the work with the Sunday school.”

Porter is not exactly sure where Snook went after he left the Mount Moriah citadel. He did hear later on that Snook had gone to the United States with some organization for a year or two prior to hearing of him being in New Brunswick.

Snook was elected to Saint John city council in 2008 and has been involved in community organizations including the Inner City Youth Ministry, which provides sports programs, mentoring and lunches at three local schools.

Police say investigators are still in the process of trying to identify alleged victims found in computer images that were seized after carrying out a search at Snook’s home in the east end of Saint John.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” Porter said of hearing the recent news about the criminal charges against Snook.

“I never expected it of the man. His father and mother are both retired Salvation Army officers, but that doesn’t really have any kind of bearing on him and what he decides to do.”

[email protected]

Twitter: WS_GaryKean

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Parents grapple with how to get help

April Cunningham

Telegraph-Journal

SAINT JOHN – Parents of children who participated in programs run by Donnie Snook say school officials should be offering more professional counselling and assistance.

“There’s a lot of devastated children and there’s a lot of devastated parents. They’re angry, they’re sad, confused,” said Darrell Bastarache, who last week was one of around 40 south end parents who attended a meeting at St. John the Baptist-King Edward School, which is closely associated with the same organization that Snook has run for close to 15 years.

“We don’t believe they have enough qualified personnel dealing with this issue,” Bastarache said on Monday. “We think the school board or someone of authority should focus on getting more qualified personnel to deal with the situation.”

He said he only knows of one guidance counsellor who has been assigned to help parents and students.

Snook, 41, who was arrested on Jan. 9, has not entered a plea to the eight charges against him. He has been remanded to jail until a hearing on March 11. He has resigned from council and is suspended with pay from his job with the Inner City Youth Ministry.

Bastarache, who knows Snook well, said families such as his are struggling to find ways to discuss the charges against Snook – which include making child pornography and sexually touching a child – and helping their children understand what happened.

Parents also want to reassure their children that they are safe, he said.

He said children who were a part of Snook’s programs, such as the Chicken Noodle Club, are receiving mixed messages from social media and rumours at school.

Bastarache met with the school principal on Monday afternoon, and he was reassured the school would take steps to offer more help. He said plans are in the works for another school meeting.

Anglophone South School District superintendent Zoë Watson declined to provide updates on school counselling on Monday. In a previous interview, she said when any school worker is charged with a crime, schools follow provincial and district policies to help students and staff cope with the news.

Andrea Richards, a single mother of four who lives on the west side, said low-income families across the city could use the help.

“I want to know how to talk to our kids and spread the word,” said Richards, who also attended the school meeting last week, even though her children don’t attend.

“It’s not just a south end problem.”

Richards has recently started volunteering with the Chicken Noodle Club, the hot lunch program run by the Inner City Youth Ministry, because she was concerned about maintaining vital programs.

Richards said the parents she has spoken to feel as though they aren’t getting an opportunity to express their concerns.

“They’re really not letting you talk and be what you need to be,” she said. “We need to really concentrate on these kids and get stuff back to normal.”

School officials have told parents with concerns to call the Saint John branch of the Department of Social Development at 1-866-441-4340.

Jean-Francois Pelletier, a department spokesman, would not speak about the case, but said anyone who has complaints or concerns about possible child abuse are urged to call their local branch. Complaints are investigated immediately.

Reports can be made 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Archdeacon Geoffrey Hall, a spokesman for the Diocese of Fredericton which oversees the Inner City Youth Ministry, said the diocese would look into ways to offer assistance to families who need it.

Police, who have said they are investigating further allegations against Snook, also urge people to call them if they have any information or concerns. The Saint John Police Force can be reached at 648-3333, the RCMP at 1-888-506-7267 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Bastarache said he thinks the schools are doing the best they can, but it’s not enough.

“I think they’re overwhelmed by the issue. I think what they’re doing is depending on the staff they have on hand, who don’t have enough credentials to handle the situation. But it’s much bigger than them.”

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Donnie Snook to enter plea on sex-related charges in March

Former Saint John councillor waived his right to bail hearing on Monday, remains in jail

CBC News

Posted: Jan 21, 2013 10:46 AM AT

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2013 1:00 PM AT

Donnie Snook, will remain in custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre until March 11.

Donnie Snook, will remain in custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre until March 11. (CBC)

Former Saint John councillor Donnie Snook is expected to enter pleas on eight child exploitation charges on March 11 and will remain in jail until then.

Snook was scheduled to have a bail hearing on Monday, but defence lawyer Dennis Boyle withdrew that request.

“It’s going to take a number of weeks to get this matter together,” Boyle told the provincial court as Snook sat quietly in the prisoner’s box, not making eye contact with any of the estimated 40 spectators.

Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock said it will take investigators four to six weeks before they’re in a position to bring the case forward.

It’s unclear whether she was referring to the eight charges currently before the court or the new sexual abuse allegations Snook is facing.

Provincial court Judge Alfred Brien asked Snook if he understood that setting the matter over would mean he will remain in custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre. Snook agreed.

Snook, 41, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession.

The two-term councillor, who resigned last week, and now-suspended director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry, has not yet entered any pleas.

Police are also investigating “several” new allegations against Snook, Saint John Police Sgt. Jay Henderson announced over the weekend.

“Since news of the arrest of Donald Snook last week, the Saint John Police Force and the RCMP have been contacted by several people, alleging they have been sexually abused by the 40-year-old-accused,” Henderson had said.

The Saint John Police Force and the New Brunswick RCMP’S Internet Child Exploitation Unit have formed a joint forces operation to investigate, he said.

Parents, children in community ‘confused’

Darrell Bastarache says many parents and children are confused about the charges and allegations against Donnie Snook.

Darrell Bastarache says many parents and children are confused about the charges and allegations against Donnie Snook. (CBC)

Darrell Bastarache, who has known Snook since the late 1990s, told reporters he wasn’t surprised by the new allegations.

“Whether they’re all valid or not is another thing, but I’ve expected more of this coming,” he said outside the courthouse.

Bastarache said Snook looked “blank” during his brief court appearance.

Several parents and children who have had dealings with Snook over the years are also still reeling, he said.

“The parents are confused, the children are confused,” said Bastarache.

“And I honestly believe the school board should get on board on having more qualified people address the situation as to what’s going on with Donnie Snook and the children.”

Although the school board held a meeting last Thursday, Bastarache said he believes more should be done.

“My children would tell me if something was wrong,” he said.

“But there’s other people out there, parents very concerned, very mad, very angry, very sad. There’s children out there very mad, very angry, very sad.”

Snook was arrested by the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit on Jan. 9. Police seized computer equipment and child sexual abuse images during a search of his Martha Avenue home, Cpl. Chantal Farrah said.

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Police have ‘big task’ ahead in Snook case; psychologist

Dr. Mary Ann Campbell says victims memories can become ‘distorted’ over time

CBC News

Posted: Jan 20, 2013 1:03 PM AT

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2013 5:57 PM AT

A criminal psychologist says police will face challenges weighing evidence in the investigation of former Saint John councillor Donnie Snook.

Dr. Mary Ann Campbell, director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at University of New Brunswick Saint John, said memory can become distorted by conversations alleged victims have had with others and by things they have read or seen since the original incident.

“Is this distorted memory? Is this real memory?” she asks. “Are the dates that are being recalled, are they the accurate dates? And also, is there anyone else who can corroborate the complainants statement which would give extra credibility to that account.”

Police said on Saturday that since Snook’s Jan. 9 arrest on sex charges, several more people have come forward with new allegations.

Saint John police announced they are joining forces with the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit to form a Joint Forces Operation to identify potential victims in seized computer images.

The Joint Forces Operation will also investigate several new complaints against Snook that have arisen since his arrest. In the statement released on Saturday, police said the officers involved have special training in these types of investigations.

Campbell said that expertise will be important because of what are likely to be the historic nature of the complaints.

Police have asked for anyone with information about the Snook investigation to contact them.

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Donnie Snook faces new allegations of sex abuse

Former Saint John councillor facing 8 child exploitation charges

CBC News

Posted: Jan 19, 2013 8:19 PM AT

Last Updated: Jan 19, 2013 8:31 PM AT

Several more people now allege they were also abused by former Saint John Coun. Donnie Snook, who was arrested and charged with eight counts of child exploitation last week.

Snook, 40, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession.

Snook, 40, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession. (CBC)

“Since news of the arrest of Donald Snook last week, the Saint John Police Force and the RCMP have been contacted by several people, alleging they have been sexually abused by the 40-year-old-accused,” Saint John Police Sgt. Jay Henderson stated in a news release.

Police say the complaints are under investigation and are asking anyone with information about the case to contact them.

The Saint John Police Force and the New Brunswick RCMP’S Internet Child Exploitation Unit have formed a Joint Forces Operation to investigate the allegations against Snook.

The team is comprised of officers who have training and expertise in these types of investigations, said Henderson.

Snook, 40, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession.

The former second-term councillor and now-suspended director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry has not yet entered any pleas.

Snook was arrested by the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit on Jan. 9 and remains in custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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Donnie Snook resigns from Saint John council

Byelection will be held to fill seat left vacant by councillor facing 8 sex-related charges

CBC News

Posted: Jan 17, 2013 5:37 PM AT

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2013 8:05 PM AT

Donnie Snook, 40, has not entered any pleas on the three charges of sexually touching a child, or five child pornography-related charges against him.

Donnie Snook, 40, has not entered any pleas on the three charges of sexually touching a child, or five child pornography-related charges against him. (CBC)

Saint John Coun. Donnie Snook, who is facing eight child exploitation charges, has resigned from council, Mayor Mel Norton has confirmed.

“This was a result of a personal matter for Coun. Snook,” Norton said in a statement issued late Thursday afternoon.

“I thank Coun. Snook for dealing with this matter in a final and timely manner,” he said.

Snook, 40, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession.

The second-term councillor and now-suspended director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry has not yet entered any pleas.

‘Regrettably, due to the current circumstances I find myself in, I am no longer able to continue in my role as a councillor in the City of Saint John.’—Coun. Donnie Snook’s resignation letter

“It has been an honour for me to serve as a member of common council for the past four-and-a-half years,” Snook’s one page, hand-written letter states.

“Regrettably, due to the current circumstances I find myself in, I am no longer able to continue in my role as a councillor in the City of Saint John, representing Ward 3,” it states.

“Please accept my best wishes to each of you as you continue to serve your community. Respectfully, Donnie Snook.”

Snook was arrested by the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit on Jan. 9 and remains in custody at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21 when the Crown expects to call three witnesses and present what has been described as “technical evidence.”

Most bail hearings are subject to a publication ban on evidence to protect the right of the accused to a fair trial.

Investigation continues

Police searched Coun. Donnie Snook's Martha Avenue home on Jan. 9.

Police searched Coun. Donnie Snook’s Martha Avenue home on Jan. 9. (John Van Dusen/CBC)

Police seized computer equipment and child sexual abuse images during a search of Snook’s Martha Avenue home, RCMP Cpl. Chantal Farrah has said.

“This investigation is still very much ongoing,” she said on Thursday, urging anyone with information that would assist police to contact the RCMP or the Saint John Police Force.

“Our investigators with the RCMP technological crime unit are going through the evidence that was seized and analyzing the images” in an effort to identify the children involved, Farrah said.

More charges are possible, she has said.

Farrah could not speculate how much longer the investigation, which began in Toronto in 2011, will take. “It’s going to take the time that’s going to be required,” she said.

The mayor said he received Snook’s letter of resignation from his defence lawyer.

“The letter has been forwarded to the common clerk and staff will follow procedures regarding vacancies as outlined in the Municipalities Act,” Norton said.

Under the act, council has two months to officially declare a vacancy by way of resolution.

The clerk then has 10 days to notify the municipal electoral officer, who holds a byelection to fill the vacancy.

The next regularly-scheduled round of municipal byelections across the province will be on May 13.

The other members of council have been notified, said Norton.

Snook’s lawyer Dennis Boyle said he was visiting his client in jail when he received the resignation letter.

“He asked me if I would do him a favour and he passed me a piece of paper and said, ‘This is my resignation, would you see that that gets into the hands of Mayor Norton?’ I called Mayor Norton and Mayor Norton just said, ‘I could pick that up tomorrow morning.’

“So he came to my office yesterday morning. I said good morning to him, gave him the piece of paper, the resignation, and he said, ‘Thank you’ and it was over,” said Boyle.

Snook was elected to council in 2008 and re-elected in May 2012 with 2,303 votes.

He was one of only two incumbents who successfully sought re-election.

He has served in Ward 3, which includes part of the south end, lower west side and part of the east side.

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City councillor faces sex-related charges

Telegraph-Journal

April Cunningham

Main story image

Councillor Donnie Snook is led down Chipman Hill by RCMP officers to Provincial court where he was charged with eight sex-related charges involving children. Photo: Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal

SAINT JOHN – Saint John city councillor Donnie Snook has been charged with making child pornography, one of eight charges laid in an ongoing child exploitation investigation that began in Toronto in 2011.

The second-term councillor and youth ministry director appeared in provincial court on Thursday, a day after RCMP officers with the Internet Child Exploitation Unit arrested him at his east Saint John home.

Snook, 40, is accused of making child pornography between March 2011 and this month, an indictable offence that carries a sentence ranging from one to 10 years.

He is also charged with three counts of sexually touching the same child between 2006 and this month.

He faces two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of making child pornography available. Those counts range between March 2011 and this month.

Judge David Walker read the charges aloud before a court gallery filled with more than 60 people on Thursday afternoon.

After each charge was read, the judge asked Snook, who looked dishevelled and avoided eye contact with the crowd, if he understood the accusations against him.

“Yes,” Snook whispered, with a long frown.

The packed gallery was quiet as the proceedings unfolded. One woman wiped tears from her eyes and others had looks of shock on their faces. Two people stood up and left before the hearing ended.

Two female plainclothes RCMP police officers sat near the front of the gallery. Other uniformed officers sat near the back.

Snook – who was wearing a blue dress shirt, jeans and glasses – was represented by defence lawyer Dennis Boyle. Boyle asked the judge to adjourn without plea.

Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock, who specializes in child exploitation cases, objected to Snook’s release.

“You are remanded to provincial jail,” the judge told Snook in a loud voice. The charges are all indictable, which are considered more serious than summary offences and carry stiffer sentences.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m. for a bail hearing. Snook may also decide whether to choose a judge and jury trial at that time, Walker said.

He was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with any person under the age of 16.

Before the Thursday court appearance, police escorted Snook in handcuffs through the public concourse of shops in Saint John City Hall. One Mountie carried a clear plastic bag that held a belt, a cellphone and an article of clothing.

The usually-bustling walkway fell silent as the politician was escorted past, en route to the courtroom on the third floor of City Hall.

Court sheriffs used a metal detector to check spectators as they filed in.

Outside of court, Snook’s longtime friend, Darrell Bastarache, said he was devastated by news of the charges.

Bastarache’s children are among numerous area youngsters who know Snook through the non-profit Inner City Youth Ministry, where he works as a director. The program offers a daily hot lunch program in Saint John’s south end.

“You trust people. I trusted him. He was around my kids all the time,” Bastarache said.

“I have no words for it, really.”

Snook, a well-known community volunteer, has since been suspended from the youth ministry with pay until the organization receives further information, said Mark Slader, chairman of the board.

The future of Snook’s position on city council remains in question.

Snook was arrested at his home at 575 Martha Ave. on Wednesday evening.

Police later seized computer equipment and images from the home, RCMP Cpl. Chantal Farrah said.

“I would say all of these are serious charges because they are on children, people who are defenceless,” Farrah told reporters at RCMP headquarters in Fredericton.

“A child cannot consent to taking any photos of any kind for exploitation of a sexual nature – that in itself is child sexual abuse.”

The police investigation started in Toronto, she said. Toronto policecontacted New Brunswick RCMP, which then led police to investigate allegations that included sexual touching.

“The number of images that are on that computer, we are still sorting through that, and then our investigators are going to be analyzing those images to see where those victims are from,” Farrah said.

The investigation is ongoing, she said, and more charges are possible.

District 3 RCMP, the New Brunswick RCMP Tech Crime Unit, the Saint John Police Force and the Toronto Police Service are also involved in the investigation, which was launched in 2011.

Chief Bill Reid of the Saint John Police Force referred questions to the RCMP.

On Thursday morning, three Saint John police cruisers were parked near Snook’s home, monitoring the scene.

Most neighbours remained quiet Thursday. A sign posted on the front door of a nearby window declared “No comment!”

Justin Forbes, who was walking down Martha Avenue, said he was shocked by news of Snook’s arrest.

“From what I remember, he’s a great guy. A really great guy,” Forbes said of Snook. “I can’t imagine.”

Mike Arsenault, who lives on nearby Cindy Lee Street, said he sawpolice guarding the scene at 3 a.m. Thursday.

He said it’s unnerving to know about the arrest of such a high-profile member of the community.

“It’s weird. It’s so messed up,” he said.

– with files from Adam Huras and Carolyn Thompson.

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Diocese of Fredericton lay worker charged

Anglican Journal

15 January 2013

By Staff


Donnie Snook has been suspended as executive director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry (ICYM) pending resolution of the charges. Photo:New Brunswick Anglican

The executive director of a children’s ministry supported by the diocese of Fredericton and operating in Saint John, N.B., has been charged with eight child pornography and sexual offences. Donnie Snook, executive director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry (ICYM), was arrested on Wednesday evening, Jan. 9. Snook, also a city councillor, was formally charged the following day and remanded to jail. The board of ICYM suspended Snook with pay pending resolution of the charges.

ICYM includes the Chicken Noodle Club, a hot lunch program for elementary school children established by the Rev. Chris VanBuskirk at St. James Anglican Church on Broad Street, Saint John, in 1989. It has grown exponentially since then and is well supported by business and industry as well as the diocese.

Archdeacon Geoffrey Hall, executive assistant to the bishop of Fredericton, the Most Rev. Claude Miller, says, “These are serious charges and our diocese has a zero tolerance policy on sexual misconduct.” He asks people to pray for Snook and to avoid judgment before all the facts are known.

The diocese of Fredericton encompasses the entire province of New Brunswick.

– With files from Ana Watts, editor, New Brunswick Anglican.

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Donnie Snook’s sex-related charges divide Saint John

CBC News

Posted: Jan 15, 2013 8:01 PM AT

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2013 6:26 PM AT

Donnie Snook, 40, is facing five child pornography-related charges and three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose.

Donnie Snook, 40, is facing five child pornography-related charges and three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose. (CBC)

Child exploitation charges against Saint John city councillor and youth ministry director Donnie Snook have the city divided and residents searching for answers.

Two Facebook groups were created on Tuesday: Pray for Donnie, and Donnie Snook: Guilty or Not Guilty?

Meanwhile, some of Snook’s young Facebook friends are sharing an equally wide range of opinions through posts on his Facebook page, which remains active.

Some are defensive. “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

But others express a sense of betrayal. “We all know you as a sick person.”

One adult posted: “Now is the time to have a difficult but needed chat with your children that had a past with Donnie.”

Snook, 40, is charged with three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession.

The second-term councillor and now-suspended director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry was arrested by the RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit on Jan. 9 and will remain in jail until at least Jan. 21, when he is scheduled to appear at a bail hearing.

Snook has not yet entered any pleas.

The investigation continues and more charges are possible, police have said.

“I have unconditional love for Donnie,” said Rose Turner, who attended Snook`s bail hearing on Monday, which was adjourned until next week at his lawyer`s request.

“He’s still my friend and I’ll never shun him or walk away from him,” said Turner. “Anything I can do for Donnie, I would do for him,” she said.

Christie Belyea, who ran against Snook in the last municipal election, however, contends Snook should lose his seat on council.

“Another reason I came here [to the bail hearing] is he used to be down at the Carleton Community Centre on the West Side,” said Belyea.

“My children were down there — not that anything happened to my kids — but you know, just the fact that this here incident kinda freaked me out a little,” she said.

‘Troubling time for children’

Bobby Hayes, of the Joshua Group, says several children are asking him questions about the charges against Coun. Donnie Snook.

Bobby Hayes, of the Joshua Group, says several children are asking him questions about the charges against Coun. Donnie Snook. (CBC)

“My heart really goes out to the kids in the community,” said Bobby Hayes, director of the Joshua Group, a non-profit group for low-income or at risk children in the city.

Hayes says dozens of youth, some as young as five, right through to their late teens, have been asking him questions about Snook. Many of them know Snook through the Chicken Noodle Club, a hot lunch program he has operated for years.

“This is a really troubling time for children,” said Hayes. “Everything’s still up in the air and a lot of things going through kids’ heads.”

“I think some of the kids are scared. Some of them are in disbelief. A lot of kids are wondering now, who do you trust?”

Others are angry, he said. “It’s like they’ve been tricked … It’s like this person or these people aren’t what they’re supposed to be, and that hurts.”

Hayes says he too is in “shock” and can’t offer the children any answers, but is doing his best to reassure them that they’re safe and that the matter is being handled by “professionals” — police and the courts.

Still, Snook’s arrest should serve as a wake-up call for parents and help raise awareness, said Hayes.

“You need to know where your kid is going, who he’s with, who he’s talking to, who’s involved with my child and the impact they’re having on that child.”

“It certainly puts a watch on all [children’s charities,] which it should.”

The Joshua Group, which offers food, clothing, sporting activities, and social support to about 100 children between the ages of two and 18, has an open door policy, said Hayes.

“There is no behind the door, one-on-one with kids, it doesn’t happen here,” he said.

The Praying for Donnie Facebook group, which was created shortly after noon, had garnered 21 likes“ by about 8 p.m., and several comments.

The other Facebook group, Donnie Snook: Guilty or Not Guilty?, was created about an hour later, had 18 likes by 8 p.m. and also generated several postings.

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Church responds to child exploitation accusations against Donnie Snook

Global Maritimes

Friday, January 11, 2013 6:33 PM

Nick Logan, Global News :

 

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Church officials in New Brunswick have expressed their shock and sadness over the arrest of Saint John city councillor Donnie Snook.

Police arrested the 40-year-old on child exploitation charges, at his home Wednesday evening.

The statement comes after Global News learned of past allegations against Snook.

Archdeacon Geoffrey Hall of the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton, which encompasses the entire province, acknowledged Snook’s arrest and said the diocese was “exercising caution in its public statements for the protection of all those concerned.”

See the full statement below

The second-term councillor served as the executive director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry.

In that position he also oversaw the Chicken Noodle Club school lunch program.

Members of the Trinity Anglican Church, the home of the Inner City Youth Ministry, have decided to suspend Snook from his position and said they will cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

Two sources connected with the ministry told Global News on Friday there were allegations of Snook being involved in the abuse of a child, made back in 2007 and 2008.

The president of the youth ministry said all he could remember from that time was that Snook had taken a leave of absence.

The police investigation into Snook began in 2011, when the Toronto Police Service contacted New Brunswick RCMP about pornographic images involving children.

Snook is facing eight charges:

Three counts of sexual interference on a child under 16 years of age, between Dec. 2006 and Jan. 2013

Two counts of possession of child pornography between March 2011 and Jan. 2013

One count of making child pornography between March 2011 and Jan. 2013

Two counts of making child pornography available between March 2011 and Dec. 2012.

He’s currently in police custody until a bail hearing on Monday.

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New Saint John city councilor

honours and serves God and poor

Diocese of Fredericton (Anglican)

Diocesan Communications

17 June 2008

By Ana Watts

Donnie Snook lives to honour, serve and love God. “At least that’s what I strive to do,” says the popular director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry and new member of Saint John Common Council. “Out of that devotion and service to God comes a love for neighbours – for others – as Jesus says in the first and second commandments. I seek to do that, I strive to do that, and sometimes I am successful. I hope this new opportunity on council will help me be a servant leader in the fashion of Jesus.”

In 2004 Donnie ran unsuccessfully for council. His goal was to raise neighbourhood issues especially related to children, youth and poverty. “I didn’t win, but I did spotlight the issues and met a lot of people.” He was invited to sit on committees and boards like PRO Kids, which promotes positive recreational activities like music lessons and sports, as well as Vibrant Communities, an anti-poverty leadership round table with representatives from government, business and non-profit sectors. It exists to implement poverty reduction strategies in the Saint John area. These appointments made his voice stronger

“It’s one thing to work every day in a high level of poverty neighbourhood, but on these committees I had an opportunity to give input and had an even greater opportunity to learn – I worked with experts who had actually achieved things around poverty reduction.”

The experience reinforced his opinion that council needed more people connected at the neighbourhood level to work on issues like affordable housing, social development and social issues. The city’s change to ward representation also worked to help him focus his energies on the poorer communities he serves. So he ran again in the May election on a platform calling for more youth programming, community policing, poverty reduction, open and transparent government, and development that creates vibrant and inclusive communities. He also wants to see more public consultation on the budget and citizen priorities. I got the most votes of all the candidates in his ward, which is represented by two councilors.

His ward three is the most diverse in the city. It includes some poor neighbourhoods in the east end, the south end peninsula, the north end, and the lower west side. It also includes the areas of greatest potential, with waterfront development in the south end, all of the uptown’s prosperous retail and business properties as well as Harbour Station, and the north of Union development including a new justice complex.

One of his first acts on council was to introduce safer communities and neighbourhoods legislation, or SCAN. It gives the police the actual authority to evict people involved in the illegal activity and landlords can be held accountable for renting to people who choose to sell drugs, run prostitution rings or any illegal activity that disrupts a neighbourhood. It requires the city to set up a special investigations unit to receive, investigate and confirm confidential complaints.

Donnie’s years in the South End showed him what crime can do to a neighbourhood and he has seen the police unable to effectively deal with the problem. He recognizes the concerns over civil rights the legislation raises, but he also knows the effect such legislation has on criminal activity in other communities. The legislation stipulates the courts must hear the cases quickly. In Nova Scotia, where the legislation is in place, the average time is about two weeks. Gradually criminals operating in densely populated areas realize their activities are attracting the attention of the community and their presence is no longer tolerated. In its first year of operation there were 197 complaints, 174 of them drug related; there were 41 eviction notices and three cases are before the courts.

“I don’t have all the answers,” Donnie admits. The legislation may not be a cure all, but it will have an affect criminal activity. “Right now it seems like nothing can be done about it.”

Donnie’s second act on council paved the way for the city to give grants to Habitat for Humanity and other social housing groups to cover the costs of their building permits as well as water and sewer hook-up charges.

The Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry started as the Chicken Noodle Club, a hot lunch ministry for school children at St. James Church in the South End. That ministry survived the closure of the church and now operates out of the St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church next door. The lunch ministry expanded over the years and is now present in all of the city’s four wards and boasts partnerships with other churches and businesses, but remains strongest in the south end.

Since the demise of St. James, the Inner City Youth Ministry operates from an office at Trinity Church in uptown Saint John. “Well, we keep our files there,” says Donnie, “but our mode of operation now is cell phone and car.” In winter he keeps boxes full of mittens in the trunk and drives around the schools at recess and lunchtime. Children with no mittens recognize his car, he pops his trunk, and they get their mittens and go back to their games with warm hands.

The myriad Inner City Youth Ministry programs dwell in several buildings throughout the city and it is getting more and more difficult to do mission work in the south end. When schools and churches amalgamate they come together in the better buildings, which are seldom in the poorer areas of town where much of the mission work resides.

“I think we are eventually going to lose St. John the Baptist too. It’s not until these buildings and institutions are gone that you realize how much important mission work is done in them,” says Donnie.

On Common Council, however, he may get early warning of such events and perhaps be able to influence some decisions in favour of the people and neighbourhoods in greatest need.

Diocesan Communications
17 June 2008

2 Responses to Articles related to charges laid against Saint John, New Brunswick city councillor Donnie Snook

  1. donna says:

    I just wanted to mention Jordan who hung himself because of all of the secrets Donnie forced him to have. He was a wonderful young man and if possible, once all of his sick secrets have been exposed, I hope God helps in finding Mr.Snook guilty of Manslaughter for his role in Jordan’s death. I knew Jordan personally and he had a will for life, Donnie just took it away from him, just like all of the other children he’s raped. But the difference was that Jordan was forced to live the torture on a daily basis because Donnie was his “trusted” foster parent. Donnie Snook is a SICK RAPIST and he needs to be punished for ALL he has done.

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