Ex-Palmerton administrator pleads guilty
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO Former Palmerton School District administrator Gary Dean Snyder leaves the office of District Judge Bruce Appleton of Palmerton, following his preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges held last September. On Tuesday, Snyder pleaded guilty in Carbon County Court to three counts involving the incidents and is facing a state prison term.
A suspended Palmerton Area School District administrator pleaded guilty in Carbon County court on Tuesday to sexually assaulting a teenager over an almost three-year period.
Gary Dean Snyder, 39, formerly of Lehighton and now listing a Bowmanstown address, pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors. In a plea bargain with the district attorney's office six other counts were dropped, including the rape of a child. The plea agreement, if approved by Senior Judge Richard W. Webb, calls for a state prison term of three to six years.
Snyder was charged by state police at Lehighton with having a sexual relationship with a young boy that began when the teen was in the sixth grade. At the time of Snyder's arrest, the boy was 16.
Snyder's plea also falls under Megan's Law provisions. Snyder will have to undergo an evaluation by the state sexual offenders board. If he is found to be a violent sexual predator, he will have to register for life as a sexual offender. During the plea proceeding it was indicated that Snyder will accept the designation of violent sexual predator and will register for life.
According to troopers Snyder met the boy through his wife, who was friends with the teen's mother.
In April 2009 troopers interviewed the victim who said he and Snyder became close in 2003 when he was in sixth grade. The sexual relationship began after Snyder showed him pornographic videos.
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.
The victim told troopers he estimated to have had 15-20 sexual encounters with Sndyer at his new home, 45-50 with Sndyer at his old home on Lafayette Avenue, and 20-25 with him in Snyder's vehicle.
Trooper Brian Silliman interviewed Snyder who admitted to the relationship. Snyder told the trooper he did teach the teen sexual acts, which they performed together. The first time occurred in Snyder's apartment bedroom while they watched pornography.
Some of the acts occurred in his new home and in his office in Palmerton, Snyder told the trooper.
Snyder, who was director of district services, has been suspended without pay since the allegations became public and he was charged. He is currently free on $100,000 unsecured bail.
Webb accepted the plea but deferred sentencing since Snyder must be evaluated relative to Megan's Law. Webb also ordered a presentence investigation (PSI) be prepared by the adult probation office.
Snyder said nothing during the proceeding except to acknowledge the facts as read into the record by Assistant District Attorney William E. McDonald. Snyder is represented by attorney Stephen Vlossak of Palmerton.