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Suspended Palmerton school administrator waives his right to a preliminary hearing

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    TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Gary Snyder exits the office of District Judge Bruce Appleton.
Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

A suspended Palmerton Area School District administrator charged with the sexual assault of a boy has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Gary Dean Snyder, 38, of 65 Vilno Circle, Franklin Township, declined to comment after he left the office of District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton on Thursday.

The former director of district services, Snyder remains free in lieu of $100,000 unsecured bail.

He is scheduled to have a pretrial conference at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 10 at the Carbon County District Attorney's Office in Jim Thorpe.

Defense attorney Michael Applebaum said he's hopeful a plea agreement can be worked out with the prosecution.

"These cases are always difficult," Applebaum said. "To save the families anguish, we waived the preliminary hearing."

Snyder's pay was discontinued after the school board suspended him without pay in July. That action came one day after Snyder was arraigned by District Justice Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford on two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, two counts of indecent assault, and one count each of rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, indecent exposure, corruption of minors, and aggravated indecent assault.

Prior to that, Snyder had been placed on a paid leave of absence by the school district in April.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Peter J. Salerno:

On April 23, Trooper H. Christopher Bonin interviewed the victim in the investigation, a 16-year-old white male. The victim indicated Snyder was a friend of the family as the victim's mother was friends with Snyder's wife, according to the affidavit.

The victim started to become close with Snyder in 2003 when the victim was in sixth grade, the affidavit says. They were friends and the two would do a lot of things together, like bowling, golfing, hiking and camping.

The victim started spending nights at Snyder's apartment, which at the time was located at 460 Lafayette Ave., Palmerton.

At some point while the victim was spending these nights at the residence, Snyder began to show him adult pornography videos.

Snyder then taught the victim other sexual acts, which they performed together. These incidents occurred at the Lafayette Avenue apartment, in Snyder's vehicle, which the victim described as a blue Jeep Liberty, and Snyder's new home in Lehighton.

The victim indicated that the first sexual encounter with Snyder occurred when the victim was in sixth or seventh grade, and that the last encounter occurred about two months before his interview.

The victim estimated to have had 15-20 sexual encounters with Snyder at his new home, 45-50 sexual encounters with Snyder at his old home on Lafayette Avenue, and 20-25 sexual encounters with Snyder in his vehicle.

The victim indicated Snyder had given him a disc when Snyder was living on Hahns Dairy Road. The disc contained an adult pornography video which featured both men and women. The two watched the video frequently, beginning when Snyder was living on Lafayette Avenue.

On April 24, Trooper Brian Silliman interviewed Snyder, who was read his Miranda rights and signed a PSP Rights Warning and Waiver.

Snyder went on to state that he married his second wife in October, 2006. Prior to that, the couple resided in Snyder's wife's grandmother's home on Hahn's Dairy Road. They lived there from the summer of 2006 through March of 2008. Before that, Snyder resided in an apartment on the 400 block of Lafayette Avenue in Palmerton.

Snyder indicated that he met the victim through his wife, who is friends with the victim's mother. Snyder said the victim was in fifth or sixth grade when he met him, and estimated the victim was 11 years old.

The two took a liking to one another, and Snyder started spending a lot of time with him. Snyder indicated he was trying to mentor the victim as he was having difficulty with school work.

The two went camping together, to Bushkill Falls, Hershey Park, and other places. They played games together, and Snyder helped the victim with homework and studying for tests.

Snyder said much of their time together was spent at his apartment, where the victim began spending nights. The first night the victim slept over, he slept on the sofa. After that, the victim asked if he could sleep in bed with Snyder, to which Snyder allowed him to.

Snyder stated that he did teach the victim sexual acts, which they performed together. The first time they did this was at Snyder's apartment bedroom, while they watched pornography.

Snyder indicated this happened twice while he was living in his apartment, and another time while they were in his Jeep.

Snyder said that the two went camping at Hickory Run State Park, when during the day, the two got into the back of his Jeep, put down the back seats and laid in the back watching a pornographic movie on a portable DVD player and performed a sexual act.

Snyder said this would have occurred while he was living at his apartment address.

Snyder also indicated there was one incident in his current home that happened in the early evening hours between April through June, 2008.

The two went up to Snyder's office and watched a DVD of adult pornography. The victim was in the office chair and Snyder sat in a chair he brought in from another room, when the two performed a sexual act on one another.

Snyder also indicated that when he was living on Hahn's Dairy Road, the victim asked him if he had any porno videos and he told him 'yes'. Snyder then made a copy of a VHS tape at his home and gave it to the victim.

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