KC, North man accused of pushing pornography on seven boys

KC, North man accused of pushing pornography on seven boys

Prosecutors have accused a man from Kansas City, North, of offering youths cellphones, other electronic devices and sometimes money to look at sexually inappropriate material.

Anthony R. Snyder, 30, allegedly met the boys, ages 12 to 15, through his church, a gym and a flag football team.

Platte County prosecutors charged Snyder with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and seven counts of first-degree promoting obscenity. Police arrested him early Tuesday. Bond was set at $200,000.

“There are predators who misuse the Internet in ways to hurt children,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said as he announced the charges Wednesday afternoon. “Just as good parents would not leave children unattended in a dark alley, parents should not leave their children unattended in the dark corners of the Internet.”

According to allegations outlined in court records, Snyder met the boys at St. Therese Catholic Church, where Snyder is a parishioner; at the Edge gym in Riverside; and through a YMCA flag football team he coached. The team practiced at Congress Middle School in the Park Hill School District.

Snyder served as a youth ministry volunteer at St. Therese from 2006 to 2008, Zahnd said. Church officials cooperated with the investigation, he said.

The alleged illegal activity began in October 2012 and continued until a few weeks ago. Police learned of the allegations from parents, Zahnd said.

According to court records:

Kansas City police met with several boys and their parents about allegations of suspicious behavior involving Snyder.

They told police Snyder had encouraged seven boys to view pornography after he provided them with phones, iPads or laptops. He provided iPhones that had been “jailbroken,” or corrupted to download applications and other third-party software not approved by Apple. He also asked them to refer friends to him.

He told the boys to contact him when they were going to view pornography, and he would pay them to watch it. He sent them messages while they watched it, asking them to move or tilt the device in order to get a better signal.

In one case, he sent a 15-year-old boy a text and asked if something was wrong with the camera on the laptop he had given him. The boy said his parents had put tape over the lens. Snyder claimed it was blocking “the sensors.”

He connected some of the boys through social media with what purportedly were teenage girls. The boys were asked to send pictures of their genitals to the girls. However, one of the accounts actually had been set up at Snyder’s house, even though the girl supposedly lived in Texas.

When questioned by police, Snyder admitted providing several of the victims with phones and paying the boys for viewing pornographic websites but denied having the capability to view the boys through the devices. He told police it was “intriguing” to know secrets about the boys.

Snyder had been a confirmation sponsor for at least one youth at Holy Family parish last spring and had sponsored at least one at St. Therese parish, Zahnd said. Diocesan officials told investigators they do not believe that Snyder had volunteered with any of their youth programs since 2008.

Zahnd said the case remains under investigation, and additional criminal charges could be filed. Investigators ask anyone who may have had a suspicious encounter with Snyder to contact authorities, Zahnd said.

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