Nov 302005
Authors: James Baetke

A third young boy – whose father may be a professor at CSU – has come forward accusing a local chess instructor of molesting him, while friends of the chess master are alleging a police conspiracy.

The boy is the third accuser to allege that Robert Snyder, a best-selling author and owner of Chess For Juniors, sexually assaulted him during chess lessons.

Charles Sendrey, a self-proclaimed close friend to Snyder and retired tournament director for Chess For Juniors, said the latest accuser is the son of a CSU professor. Police would not discuss the identity of the third accuser and when contacted by the Collegian, the professor declined to comment and directed questions to police.

According to court records, the latest accuser came forward saying he was molested between July 2003 and May 2004.

"He came forward within the last couple of months," said Lt. Hal Dean with Fort Collins Police Services.

Sendrey said the boy came forward after his family read an article about Snyder's case in the Collegian.

When Snyder last appeared in court on Nov. 17, another count was added to his charges – he now faces a total of three counts of sexual assault of a child by a person in the position of trust and two counts of sexual assault on a child – pattern of abuse. Both counts are felonies.

Sendrey told the Collegian in a series of more than two-dozen e-mails that Snyder is totally innocent and victim to a police conspiracy.

He wrote in an e-mail sent Oct. 13: "I have access to all the facts on the Robert Snyder case. You will be amazed to learn that this is a 'set up' by the police to put Snyder out of business."

Sendrey continues to say that the Huntington Beach Police Department contacted Fort Collins police in 2000 when Snyder moved to Colorado from California to warn them Snyder was a sexual deviant.

In 1983, Snyder was acquitted for similar charges in Orange County, Calif., but, according to Sendrey, police called Fort Collins authorities because they wanted Snyder to suffer.

Huntington Beach police Lt. Craig Junginger denies Sendrey's allegations. He admits that a semi-retired detective on the force called Fort Collins authorities after recently reading about Snyder in a local newspaper to give them further information on Snyder.

The detective was not directly involved in Snyder's 1983 trial, but was part of a California-wide task force investigating sexual assaults, Junginger said.

John Sendrey, Charles Sendrey's son who spoke from his home in California, was part of Snyder's chess posse in 1985 when he was about 15. He credits Snyder with getting him the title of state chess champion and felt totally comfortable around the Olympian chess master.

"He made it a fun environment to hang out. I trusted him and did not suspect anything," John Sendrey said.

John Sendrey criticizes the media coverage that discusses the 1983 acquittal charges.

"Delving into the past, I do not think it anyway helps paint the picture," John Sendrey said.

Because Snyder was around children so much, John Sendrey admits his chess teacher displayed some odd quirks.

"He was a strange sort of person. He told corny jokes. I had, at times when he was not with kids, seen him a lot more normal," he said.

Charles Spine, one of the two original accusers in the 1983 case, says Snyder is a sexual predator who did molest him several times while attending chess lessons. Even though the 1983 jury did not find Snyder guilty, Spine says he was humiliated and affected for life.

"I was a victim. I was Snyder's prodigy. I had my picture in the paper as the next Bobby Fisher," Spine said from his home on the West Coast.

Charles Sendrey calls Spine an "inveterate liar" and believes Fort Collins police told Spine to talk to the Denver press.

Spine dismisses Snyder's 70-year-old friend calling him a "political whack-job" and "spin-meister."

"I had held out hope it was a passing perversion, a skeleton in the closet, something (Snyder) would definitely watch and not repeat," Spine said.

Spine is active in child advocacy charities and is currently married with three children.

He said: "I can tell you the actual incidents of abuse are still crystal clear in my mind."

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