Donnie Snook pleads guilty to 4 N.L. sex charges

Former Saint John councillor Donnie Snook pleaded guilty in provincial court in Saint John Thursday to four sex-related charges stemming from his native Newfoundland and Labrador.

Former Saint John councillor already serving 18-year sentence for 46 crimes against boys in N.B.

Former Saint John councillor Donnie Snook pleaded guilty in provincial court in Saint John Thursday to four sex-related charges stemming from his native Newfoundland and Labrador.

Snook, 41, admitted to assaulting a boyunder the age of 14 while he was a pastor with the now-defunct Salvation Army church in Mount Moriah in the mid-1990s.

Snook pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference.

Having the charges transferred to New Brunswick was contingent upon guilty pleas, Snook's lawyer, Dennis Boyle, previously said.

Snook showed little emotion, other than a furrowed brow as he listened to the court proceedings.

A sentencing hearing will be held on Dec. 17 at 1:30 p.m.

Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock requested it be set over because the victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, wants the opportunity to provide a victim impact statement.

Told police about victim

Lamrock told the court Snook identified the victim to Saint John police when he gave them a statement following his arrest in January 2013.

Snook said he had taken him and some other boys camping and awoke one night to find the victim performing oral sex.

Snook said he kept his eyes closed throughout the encounter, pretending he was asleep.

The victim told police the camping trip was actually their second encounter. He said the first encounter occurred at Snook's home, where they would sometimes go before church.

One day, he was there with two other boys watching a movie, he said. The two other boys were sitting on the floor and he and Snook were on the couch.

The victim says Snook put a blanket over the two of them and pretended to fall asleep. He then guided the victim's hand to his penis and got the boy to masturbate him.

During the camping trip, the victim told police Snook also guided him to sit on top of him and attempted anal penetration, but was not successful. The boy said he tried to kiss Snook, but Snook did not kiss him back, the Crown said.

Provincial court Judge Alfred Brien asked Snook if the facts presented to the court were a fair and accurate representation of the events. "Yes," he replied.

Two of the offences occurred at or near the western Newfoundland town between Dec. 1, 1995 and April 1, 1996, and the other two occurred at or near the provincial park Barachois Pond between July 1, 1996 and Aug. 31, 1996 — just a couple of years before Snook was elected to Saint John city council.

Appealing sentence

Snook, who also served as director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry, was sentenced last month to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to 46 sex crimes against children.

The charges, which included sexual assault, making child pornography and extortion, spanned 12 years and involved 17 male victims, some as young as five years old.

Snook, who will be eligible for parole after serving less than six years, is appealing that sentence, calling it "unreasonable" and "in excess of the appropriate range."

His lawyer told reporters outside the courtroom he was not involved in filing the appeal, but said it would not factor into sentencing on the four latest charges.

The judge will rely on the same pre-sentence report and psychological evaluation that were prepared for the previous sentencing, said Boyle.

"Nothing's changed in the past month," he said.

Boyle had previously said he plans to request a concurrent sentence on the Newfoundland charges.

The Crown has not indicated the length of sentence she will be seeking.

'Starting to relax'

Snook will return to Springhill Institution in Nova Scotia pending his sentencing, his lawyer said. He is still undergoing an assessment there to determine where he should serve the remainder of his sentence.

Boyle could not say how much longer the assessment will take, but said his client has been faring well.

"He's putting on a little bit of weight," he said. "I think he’s starting to relax now that he’s been through his sentence and he's starting to count backwards from 18 — he’s got a month in now, five weeks."

Boyle could not comment on the status of Snook's allegations that he too was abused as a child in Newfoundland.

Snook previously told the court he was abused by a Salvation Army official who was a family friend when he was 10 years old.

Boyle had said RCMP were looking into the allegations.

Snook is still facing a forfeiture hearing on Jan. 8. The Crown wants to forfeit seized items connected to his crimes, including his house, SUV, camper trailer and computer equipment.