Warning: Graphic content
© Star photo by Diane Crocker
Donnie Snook is seen in provincial court in Corner Brook on Tuesday. Snook appeared on four sex-related charges that date back to between 1995 and 1996.
By April Cunningham
New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
SAINT JOHN – The New Brunswick Crown is asking for a 21-year sentence for convicted child abuser Donnie Snook.
Karen Lee Lamrock laid out her final submissions this morning on the second day of the former city councillor and youth ministry leader’s sentencing hearing on 46 counts that included 17 male victims from the Saint John area.
Court also heard that Snook was reportedly abused himself when he was 10, behaviour that likely led to his sexual preference for children, according to a report prepared by Mary Ann Campbell, a psychologist and professor at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John.
Campbell reported that Snook’s poor coping skills to deal with loneliness was also a factor that led to him acting on his sexual desires.
“I think most of us would think if you’ve been in that position (of being abused), you’d be able to empathize with people who have been in that position,” Lamrock said. “Somehow there’s a disconnect for him.”
She added that through the psychological assessment, officials determined that Snook had little emotional attachment to the children – most of whom he met and groomed through his work with the Chicken Noodle Club, a south-end ministry he operated.
Lamrock said, however, she believed most of the children felt a great attachment to him.
“The younger victims were being groomed as they got to his age of preference,” she said. He preferred boys around the age of 12.
Snook has co-operated with police and admitted to 46 crimes, including luring children on the Internet, encouraging them to take part in group sex activities, performing sexual acts on young boys and having them reciprocate on him. He also filmed the boys and had amassed a large collection of child pornography.
One victim wrote in a statement that he has contemplated suicide since reporting abuse in 2007 – an incident that led to a police investigation with no charges.
“I have little respect for myself now,” he wrote. “It questions your worth as a person.”
No one believed the victim and he was shunned from friends’ homes, Bible camp and teachers who were friends with Snook would single him out in class.
A mother of a victim with Asperger’s syndrome wrote that when her son first met Snook, he “became the happy boy I knew he was.”
Snook became a father figure and would take him camping, fishing and to see fireworks.
“I now know he took complete advantage of him,” she wrote, adding she can’t sleep because she imagines the terrible things Snook did to her son when she closes her eyes.
Ever since Snook was arrested on Jan. 9 she said “I can’t help but feel like the worst mother in the world.”
Lamrock has also asked that Snook serve 10 years or half of his sentence – whichever is less – before being released on parole.
Snook's lawyer Dennis Boyle is expected to present his final submissions this afternoon and Snook is also expected to address the court.
Snook, a former Salvation Army officer from Newfoundland, is also facing four sex related charges involving a young boy while he was stationed in Mount Moriah in the mid-1990s.