The eight child exploitation and pornography charges laid against Saint John Coun. Donnie Snook has jolted many in the city with the reaction ranging from disappointment to disgust.
The well-known city councillor sat in a prisoner’s box on Thursday afternoon as Judge David Walker read out a series of charges, including making and distributing child pornography and sexual touching.
The charges against him include three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose between December 2006 and January 2013. An RCMP spokesperson said on Thursday that more charges are possible.
The arrest and the charges unnerved many people in the community, such as Salyssa Mason.
"I am totally disgusted," she said.
"I feel bad for the people who've had their children involved with him."
Snook is an outspoken city councillor as well as the director of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry, a position that he was suspended from after the charges were announced.
The news surprised many Saint John residents, including those who knew him personally.
Darrell Bastarache has known Snook since the late 1990s and said on Thursday he was "blown away" by the charges.
"You know, you trust people. I trusted him. He was around my kids all the time," he said.
Andre Beaulieu said he avoid passing judgment until Snook has his day in court.
"I think he's innocent until proven guilty. I think we owe him at least that. He's been working hard in the community," he said.
Wayne Meldrun said he knows the Saint John councillor from his work with church functions, the Chicken Noodle Club and the Boys and Girls Club.
"He's a good guy to me, in my books anyway," he said.
Snook was arrested at his east side bungalow on Martha Avenue on Wednesday night in connection with an investigation by the RCMP's Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
The investigation began in 2011 in Toronto.
Snook will be back in court on Monday for a bail hearing.