Donnie Snook facing 4 new sex abuse charges in N.L.

Former Saint John city councillor Donnie Snook, who pleaded guilty earlier this week to 46 child exploitation charges, is also facing four sex abuse charges in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Involve a boy under 14 in Mount Moriah, where he worked as Salvation Army pastor

Police and other authorities are continuing to examine the actions of Donnie Snook. 2:12

Former Saint John city councillor Donnie Snook, who pleaded guilty earlier this week to 46 child exploitation charges, is also facing four sex abuse charges in his native province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Snook, 41, is due to appear in a Corner Brook court on June 11 to answer to two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference.

Snook worked as a senior pastor at the now-defunct Salvation Army church in Mount Moriah during the mid-1990s. He was well-known and well-liked, CBC's Jeremy Eaton reports.

All four charges relate to a boy from that town, who was under the age of 14 at the time.

RCMP allege Snook committed two of the offences against the boy between Dec. 1, 1995 and April 1, 1996.

The other two offences are alleged to have occurred at or near the provincial park Barachois Pond, between July 1, 1996 and Aug. 31, 1996.

NL file may be transferred

Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock, who is handling the Saint John case against Snook, said she was aware of the Newfoundland and Labrador charges.

It is possible they could be transferred to New Brunswick, she said.

"Like any case, if an accused wants to plead guilty, they can ask the prosecutor from that jurisdiction to send them here for guilty pleas and sentencing," Lamrock told CBC News.

It is up to the prosecutor in the other jurisdiction to decide whether the charges should be transferred, she said.

Transfers in sexual assault cases are uncommon, but the normal practise would be to accept such a request, said Lamrock.

Snook is expected to return to Saint John court on June 25 to set a date for a sentencing hearing.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to 46 child exploitation charges involving 17 boys as young as five years old. The charges, which date back to 2001, include sexual assault, making child pornography and extortion.

It is one of the biggest sex abuse cases in New Brunswick's history.

By comparison, Karl Toft, who is considered one of Canada's most notorious sex offenders, was convicted in 1992 of 34 abuse charges involving 18 boys at New Brunswick's Kingsclear Youth Training Centre, where he worked as a guard.

Saint John police say they are still investigating and could lay more charges.

Civil suits possible

Victims could launch civil suits against Snook, as well.

Norm Bosse, a Saint John lawyer, interviewed more than 100 men who said they were victims of Toft, who was sentenced to 13 years and served 10 years.

Bosse said there were early warnings in the Toft case that were missed. He said he thinks it will be the same for Snook.

"We'll probably hear things like, 'Well you know, it always seemed strange to me that my son wanted to go with him. Or, he took my son out and kept him overnight. Or, he was on long trips and he did this.' There's also a camper involved. Karl Toft? Camper," he said.

Bosse said the Snook case may force the Department of Social Development to re-evaluate its screening process for foster parents. Snook served as a foster parent for years.

Bosse said the Archdiocese of Fredericton may also been questioned. Snook was the director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry, overseeing the Chicken Noodle Club, a hot lunch program for at-risk youth. He has since been dismissed.

"When these things happen, yes, the lawyers will be looking there. Did he have a position of trust? What was he doing in the church? Did you do a background check? Were you leaving him alone with these kids when you shouldn't have been?"

The court has yet to hear the facts behind the crimes involving Snook, or how he accessed his victims, who were between the ages of five and 15.