New Brunswick's child and youth advocate Norm Bossé says a Saint John woman who said police ignored her complaints about former city councillor Donnie Snook deserves some answers.
The woman came forward earlier this week to say she had told police in 2007 her brother was sexually assaulted by Snook while sleeping over at his home one night, but she and her brother never heard back from police until Snook's arrest in January.
Snook, who was also a youth ministry leader, has since pleaded guilty to 46 sex crimes involving 17 boys as young as five years old and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
"The police should offer her some explanation," said Bossé.
"The person who took her statement should offer her and her brother some explanation as to what was done with the information and why they didn't lay the charges."
Education better than inquiry
Still, Bossé does not believe there should be a public inquiry into the Snook case.
He contends the estimated $3 million to $5 million an inquiry would cost would be better spent elsewhere.
"I'm saying the best resolution to all this going forward is the education of the public and our youth in schools through education programs that will allow them to recognize abuse, to deal with it, to be resilient, to bring it forward to authorities, and to properly process it," said Bossé.
"How Donnie Snook got away with this for so many years? The answer is the same as Karl Toft," he said, referring to the former guard at New Brunswick's Kingsclear Training Centre, convicted in 1992 of 34 abuse charges involving 18 boys.
"How did he get away with 20 years? Because pieces of the puzzle just weren't put together so that he could be brought forward and charged by the police," said Bossé.
The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban that protects Snook’s victims, has said it's been crushing to hear about all of the other victims, especially when she's convinced some of those crimes could have been prevented if her warning hadn't been "swept under the carpet."
The charges against Snook, 41, include sexual assault, sexually touching a minor while in a position of trust, making child pornography and extortion.
Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock has recommended Snook be sentenced to 21 years in prison, with no eligibility for parole until he has served at least half of his sentence or 10 years, whichever is less.
Meanwhile, Snook’s defence lawyer has requested a sentence of 12 years in prison and asked that Snook be given one-and-a-half credit for the nearly eight months he has already spent in custody.
Provincial court Judge Alfred Brien has reserved sentencing until Oct. 10.
Snook is also facing four child sexual exploitation charges in Newfoundland and Labrador.