Man Gave Kids Phones, Computers and Encouraged Them to Watch Porn, Platte Co. Prosecutor Says

By Michelle Pekarsky, Shannon O'brien And Katie Banks
Fox 4
June 11, 2015

[with video]

A 30-year-old man has been charged in Platte County with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child and seven counts of promoting obscenity. He could face up to 58 years in prison.

Anthony.jpg 30-year-old Ant

Wednesday afternoon during a news conference, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said he believes Anthony Snyder, 30, enticed the boys at Northland locations where children spent time.

Zahnd said Snyder encouraged seven boys, between the ages of 12 and 15, to view pornography on phones or computers that Snyder allegedly provided them. Two of the boys told child services advocates that Snyder connected them to what he said were teenage girls on a messaging service called KIK. The children said Snyder encouraged them to send pictures of their genitals to the girls. Instead, Prosecutor Zahnd alleges that some of the pictures went to an IP address belonging to Snyder rather than these purported girls.

READ: Anthony Snyder Probable Cause Statement

Additionally, parents of the boys are concerned that Snyder gained control of their sons’ device camera and watched the boys as they viewed pornography. Zahnd said Snyder told the boys to let him know when they were watching the porn he provided, told them to touch themselves while they watched it; and at times would tell them to move their devices this way-or-that way, claiming it would improve their signal. Parents are concerned he watched the boys view the porn, and police continue to investigate this. Zahnd said more charges could be filed.

“In yet another instance, the probable cause statement indicates that Mr. Snyder gave the boy a laptop computer. Mr. Snyder later sent a text to the boy asking if something was wrong with the computer and if there was something over the camera. The boy told Mr. Snyder his parent had put tape over the lens. Mr Snyder claimed it was blocking the sensors on the computer,” Zahnd explained.

FOX 4’s Katie Banks was first to bring you the story of the man who was reportedly asked to leave Edge Gymnastics because of his behavior with children. He was also seen at the Parkville YMCA.

The YMCA provided this statement to FOX 4:

“The Y has not been formally contacted by police or any law enforcement agencies regarding the case involving Anthony R. Snyder. Also, we have not been advised that any of the activities alleged in this case took place in Y programs or on Y property.

As a precaution, we are notifying families who, according to our records, had children on teams for which Mr. Snyder served as the volunteer coach. Based on the prosecutor’s request during the press conference, we are suggesting that if families have any questions or concerns, that they contact the TIPS hotline.

Our practice is to conduct background screenings on our volunteers who interact with program participants. That process was followed in this situation.”

A man was also reported to have approached children at Prairie Point Elementary School in the Park Hill School District.

The school district told FOX 4 the man is not an employee nor a volunteer, so it’s unclear why the man would’ve been on property. After our inquiry, they alerted parents about him. The owners of EDGE said they know of the man and actually called police to report him a few weeks ago. Chelsi Wong, a gymnastics teacher said she quickly noticed the man’s interaction with other kids at the gym seemed strange, and when she discovered he was offering to jailbreak their phones, asked him to leave and never come back.

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph confirmed a parishioner at St. Therese Parish in Platte County is the suspect in this case. Zahnd said the diocese has been extremely cooperative and helpful with the investigation.

Prosecutors say Anthony Snyder would begin the conversations with the boys by telling them he could “jailbreak” their phones. Once he completed the jailbreak, police believe he would tell some of the children that he would pay them to watch porn on that device. He is accused of offering even more money to kids who agreed to touch themselves while watching, and offering additional compensation if they’d refer other boys to him.

Jailbreaking is the term used for fixing your phone so you can download a wide range of third-party apps, themes and task bars.

Platte Co. Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd at a news conference

Zahnd said during their investigation they learned Snyder was a coach for a flag football team called the Seahawks that sometimes practiced at Congress Middle School in the Park Hill School District. He said good parenting made the difference in stopping an alleged perpetrator.

“Police learned about these events from the boys’ parents. It’s vitally important that parents supervise and regularly view their children’s access to internet devices. Make no mistake there are predators who misuse the internet in ways to hurt children,” Zahnd said. “Just as good parents would not leave a child unattended in a dark alley, parents should not leave their child unattended in the dark corners of the internet.”

Snyder remained in custody early Wednesday afternoon, with bond set at $200, 000. If he pays his bond, he’s ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18, and cannot possess or use any device to access the Internet. He’s ordered to stay off the property owned and operated by the KC-St Joseph Diocese, by Edge Gymnastics, by the Park Hill School District and the North Kansas City School District.

“I urge any person who has had a suspicious interaction with Mr. Snyder to report that activity. I encourage children to report that activity to a parent,” Zahnd said. “Likewise I urge parents to talk to their children and find out if they’ve had any interaction with Mr. Snyder.”

FOX 4 went to Snyder’s home on Wednesday afternoon, where the suspect’s father answered the door.

“I really can’t comment, I’m very comfortable with the process ahead. We appreciate all the interest, particularly the people that have expressed their support to us,” he said.








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