Accused sex offender has west coast connection

Gary Kean
Published on January 22, 2013
Councillor Donnie Snook is led down Chipman Hill by RCMP officers to Provincial court where he was charged with eight sex offences.
Photo: Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal

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