by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor
A Kansas City man has been charged with sexual improprieties with children in the Kansas City Northland involving cell phones and other electronic devices.
Anthony R. Snyder, 30, was charged with several counts of promoting obscenity and sexual exploitation of a minor.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “This case is another reminder for parents to be vigilant about how their children access the Internet, especially as they become teenagers. Police learned about this case from the boys' parents. It is vitally important that parents supervise and regularly review their children's access to cell phones, computers, and tablet devices.”
According to the probable cause statement, on May 13, 2015, officers with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department met with several boys, ages 12 to 15, and their parents. That meeting revealed suspicious activities between the boys and Snyder.
Authorities allege Snyder encouraged seven boys to view pornography, after providing them free iPhones, iPads, or laptop computers, or after having “jailbroken” the boys' devices. Court documents indicate that “jailbreaking” an Apple device occurs by utilizing software to bypass restrictions on the device to install applications and other modifications not approved by Apple.
Snyder allegedly connected two boys with what were purported to be teenage girls on the KIK messaging service. The boys were then allegedly asked to send pictures of their genitals to the purported girls. However, the social media account for one of the purported girls was actually created and accessed by an IP address assigned to Snyder's residence, even though the girl was purported to be from Texas. The purported girl's photos were allegedly photographs of a known, younger-looking female in the pornography industry.
Several of the boys completed forensic interviews with the Child Advocacy Center operated by Synergy Services. The interviews revealed that Snyder met the boys at St. Therese Catholic Church, at the Edge Gymnasium, or in his capacity as a coach with the Seahawks flag football team, which practiced at Congress Middle School and may have been affiliated with the YMCA Flag Football Program.
The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has already issued an alert about this incident because Snyder has been a parishioner of the St. Therese Parish in Platte County for some time. Snyder was a volunteer in youth ministry at the parish from 2006-2008. The Diocese does not believe he has been involved as a volunteer with any youth programs since 2008.
Zahnd said the Catholic Church has been completely cooperative with the investigation of Snyder, providing investigators with records involving Snyder's volunteer status with youth in the church from 2006-2008. “I commend the church and thank them for their assistance with this case,” Zahnd said.
Snyder has been charged with seven counts of the class D felony promoting obscenity in the first degree. He is also charged with the class B felony sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted exploitation of a minor. He is in custody in lieu of a $200,000 cash only bond. If convicted on all counts, Snyder faces up to 58 years in prison.
The case against Snyder remains under active investigation, and Zahnd said it is possible Snyder could be charged with additional crimes.
Zahnd asked anyone who had a suspicious interaction with Snyder or believes a young person has had a suspicious interaction with Snyder to contact the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department by calling the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.
The case is being investigated by the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Chris Seufert and Megan Benton.