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Ex-Palmerton administrator sentenced to state prison

Published August 17. 2010 05:00PM

A former Palmerton Area School District administrator, who admitted to sexually assaulting a young boy over a three-year period, was sentenced to a state prison term on Monday in Carbon County court.

Gary Dean Snyder, 39, of Bowmanstown, was sentenced by Senior Judge Richard W. Webb to serve 36 to 72 months in a state prison followed by two years of state probation.

Snyder previously pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors.

Snyder admitted having sexual contact with a young man that began when the victim was 11 years old.

Yesterday the mother and victim told Webb how the assaults affected their lives.

The victim told Webb that Snyder would give him alcohol and cigarettes and then perform sexual acts with him. He said he trusted Snyder. He told the court, "He had me so confused I didn't know my own sexuality."

The victim said the experience will have an effect on him the rest of his life. He said he needs medication to sleep at night.

The mother of the victim asked Snyder, "Why did you pick my son? We trusted you as a family."

She told Webb the experience has made it "really hard to trust anybody, anybody."

She looked at Snyder and said, "What you did to our son can never be forgiven. We trusted you."

Defense attorney Stephen Vlossak told the court that Snyder was active in his community up to the time of the incidents. He said, "For all the good he had done in his life will be forgotten for his criminal actions in this case."

Snyder apologized to the victim, the victim's family and his own family.

"I'm very sorry for what I've done," he said.

Webb said the conduct by Snyder had a tremendous impact on many lives. Looking at Snyder, he said, "You are going to pay for this for the rest of your life because of Megan's Law."

State police had charged that Snyder had a sexual relationship with the victim that began when the boy was in sixth grade. Troopers said Snyder was friends with the family and took advantage of that friendship to assault the boy.

The sexual relationship began when Snyder started showing the boy pornographic videos. The relationship began in 2003. Snyder and the teen performed sexual acts on each other at various locations including at Snyder's apartment in Palmerton, in his new home in Lehighton and in his vehicle. The sexual encounters also occurred on camping trips the two made together, some out of state.

Webb also said the state sexual evaluation board had found that Snyder was a violent sexual predator under Megan's Law, which means he must register for life as a sexual predator. Vlossak said his client did not dispute the findings of the board.

Additionally, Webb ordered Snyder to supply a DNA sample, follow all conditions of Megan's Law relative to registration with state police, have no contact with the victim or his family, make restitution to the family for $1,080 in expenses related to the case and submit to a sexual evaluation board.

Snyder began the jail term immediately.

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