Accused sex offender has west coast connection

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

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.”

Twitter: WS_GaryKean

Organizations: Salvation Army, Inner City Youth Ministry

Geographic location: Saint John, Mount Moriah, New Brunswick Eastern Newfoundland United States

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Recent comments

  • Trish
    January 26, 2013 - 23:27

    These pedophiles are professional. They lure you in with kindness. Most of the time, they are the nicest most respected people. The ones who go above and beyond to impress and gain trust. It is all part of their plan. Then its hard to believe that such a good person could do something so wrong. When domeone seems too good, it is actually a red flag. Especially when dealing with children....

  • S and J
    January 22, 2013 - 18:53

    We would like to point out a couple of errors in your article. If you are going to write the facts then please do so but these are not quite the facts. First of all Donnie was In Mt Moriah for 3 years and he was devoted to the kids program that we tried to start up. We did start a outreach ministry in Corner Brook and had Friday night youth events as well..There was a few of us that worked closely with Donnie during those years. We did spend quite sometime in Dunfield park during those years and everything appeared to be okay. Under our watch we never seen anything that would cause concern but outside of time spent with him we can not account for. We are certain that if anything could have happened during the years that Donnie living on the West Coast the RCMP is quite capable of doing an investigation. When Donnie left Mt Moriah he was transferred with the Salvation Army to Saint John NB. So yes this is a big story that does involve Donnie's roots in the beautiful town of Corner Brook. Lets keep in mind that whither Donnie is Guilty or not Guilty there are many people hurting. Please pray for everyone involved .....

  • concerned
    January 22, 2013 - 12:26

    Sounds like a lot of vague memories of someone who was at the Mt. Moriah church. This seems like some poor attempt at the Western Star to make a local connection to a big story from away. Is there any charges in Newfoundland. Not that I can see. Why would the star put in comments like "Not exactly sure" not once but twice. This seems like poor reporting.

    • Another Concerned person
      January 22, 2013 - 16:09

      The information in this article is incorrect. I was personnally involved with Donnie and the youth. He had an outreach ministry in a certain area of Corner Brook and had Friday night youth events as well. To say that he "made time" for the youth is an understatement. The youth were a very big focus of this man. I will not give an opinion on the charges pending; all I can say was that during his time here in Corner Brook and Mount Moriah that Donnie was an upstanding citizen and a joy to be around. He worked hard to make a better life for some young people. What the Western Star has failed to acknowlege is that all of the charges and allegations have occured after Donnie left here. This is very poor reporting and you should be held accountable for your comments as well.

  • someone
    January 22, 2013 - 10:50

    This is crazy!! And someone saying that he didnt really have dealings with the youth in Mount Moriah is not true I was 14 at the time and he did indeed have dealings with us!! and the youth of dunfeild park too at the time!! I personally went to 1 if not 2 wake-a-thons that he was doing for the kids to raise money and have the pictures to prove it!! Also I know that alot of the older congregation of the church did not like the fact that he was for the kids and only for the kids!! So yeah maybe that could have been some early worning signs! I just wanted to make those facts known ! I am not suggesting he had done anything to any of the kids here at that time but yes he did certainly have dealings with us!!

  • Mike
    January 22, 2013 - 08:56

    Honestly, I'm getting more than a little tired of the Newfoundland media making such a big fuss about either famous or infamous people in other provinces having, at best, a tenusous connection to the province. Does it really matter that some person once passed through or spent a small amount of time somewhere in Newfoundland? Yes, I understand that in this particular story we are talking about a child sex offender and he spent time in a youth supervisory capacity, but there are no allegations of sexual abuse here in Newfoundland and the one year he spent here was twenty years ago. Really, we are starting to turn into this little hillbilly towns that make a huge hoopla about one man in town who met Andy Griffith (Married With Children reference here). Let's move beyond this good-old-boy mentality and get with the rest of the 21st century.

    • william porter
      January 24, 2013 - 10:47

      My name is Bill Porter and I am very angry that this article was printed without my permission. I told the reporter that my memory of that time, 15 plus years ago was not that good, and that I could be wrong about some of the statements. I find that this was very unproffessional on the reporters part. I was caught unawares by this reporter and never really had time to reflect on events that took place almost 20 years ago. From talking to different people I realized that some of my statements were wrong, for that I apoligize. What I said about Donny Snook's character were true. He was a fine young man who had a heart for the people and the children of our corps. I never once wittnessed any thing untoward, directed at the children and teens of our church. I don't know much of what happened with Donny after he was transfered out of our corps, my memories of him are all good. Yes I will be praying for him, I don't know what happened to lead him in the direction he took but I know that inside is a heart that needs healing. We are all quick to condemn , it wouln't hurt any of us to look in our own closets and see if we are any different. Sin is sin my friends, so let him who is without sin cast the first stone. As for the reporter, I forgive him, but next time , should there be a next time, try doing the honorable thing and ask permission to quote someone before you print what they say, after all by law you obligated to do so.