In March 2011, Det. Paul Krawczyk began an online hunt that would last 22 months. It would end as one of the worst cases he’s ever investigated, culminating in the arrest of beloved Saint John city Councillor Donnie Snook.
Donnie Snook was as close to sainthood as it got in Saint John.
Sitting on city council for two consecutive terms, the 41-year-old former Salvation Army officer championed the razing of derelict buildings, helped drive biker gangs out of town and fed warm lunches to children through a Christian youth ministry.
“He was the soldier for the marginalized,” said former city councillor Patty Higgins.
But that image was shattered this January after a Toronto police officer sitting in a dark, windowless room 1,500 kilometres away spent 22 months tracking an unknown predator online.
Snook is now facing three counts of sexual touching related to one child, whose identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban, dating back to December 2006. He is also charged with one count of making child pornography related to the same child and two counts each of possessing and distributing child pornography between March 2011 and January 2013.
None of the allegations against Snook has been proven in court. He has resigned his council seat and is suspended with pay from his position as executive director of the Inner City
Youth Ministry. His defence lawyer, Dennis Boyle, refused to comment when contacted by the Star.
In what may soon be one of the largest cases of alleged child abuse in recent Canadian memory, the Star has learned that since Snook’s arrest as many as 20 children and their families have come forward with allegations and further charges are pending, according to multiple sources.