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St. John's court hears testimony about years of child sexual abuse

Chris Snow, 68, sits in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Tuesday.
Chris Snow, 68, sits in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Tuesday.

WARNING: This story contains graphic language. He’s well-known to many in the St. John’s area as the man with the Christmas truck, driving around town every December in a pickup fully decorated with boughs and coloured lights, often blaring music.  

On Tuesday, the court heard graphic and disturbing details of sexual assaults Chris Snow is alleged to have committed on children — as young as six years old and one 16 years old and five months’ pregnant — in the 1960s and ’70s.

Snow, 68, is on trial in Newfoundland Supreme Court for the sexual abuse of five children, male and female, in St. John’s, beginning when he was 18 years old.

He has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges in total: 12 counts of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency.

One by one, the complainants took the stand, some opting for a privacy screen to shield their view of Snow in the dock.

They gave testimonies of Snow sneaking into their bedrooms at night and fondling them. The men spoke of Snow forcing them to fondle him or forcing their mouths onto his genitals.

One woman said she woke up on a number of occasions to find Snow in bed behind her, fondling her genitals and breasts.

“I remember one time I was five months’ pregnant and he still did it,” she said.

Another woman said Snow would often ask her if she wanted money and would leave some under her pillow after he assaulted her.

One night, she said, he came back in the room, reached under the pillow and took it back.

One of the men told the court that, among other incidents, Snow once gave him $5 and forced him to fellate him. It lasted only a few seconds, said the man, who testified he was 13 at the time.

Another man testified Snow attempted to penetrate him anally multiple times over a period of six years, beginning when he was nine years old. He gave details of three alleged incidents in particular, the most violent taking place when he was 13 and Snow was 24, he said.

“There were many ordeals of this nature,” the man told the court. “That one was the most horrific.”

The complainants spoke of physical injury, nightmares, bed-wetting, and mental health issues as a result of the alleged abuse.

On cross-examination, defence lawyer Jason Edwards questioned the complainants’ memories, given the fact decades have passed and a number of the complainants had testified to having memory issues or having blocked out parts of their childhood.

 

In an unrelated case, Snow’s son, David Snow, is facing multiple charges of sexual crimes against children for incidents alleged to have happened between 2011 and 2015. The 35-year-old is currently in custody, charged with two counts of sexual assault and sexual interference, three counts of exposing his genitals to a person under 16, and 10 counts of observing a person for a sexual purpose. He’s also charged with making child pornography and possessing child pornography. He has not been convicted and his case is making its way through the courts.

Snow’s case will be called before Justice William Goodridge again this morning, at which time he is expected to testify.

 

Tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

 

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