Feb 072006
Authors: James Baetke

A judge decided Monday there was enough evidence to send an Olympian-ranked chess instructor to trial.

Robert Snyder, 51, is charged with sexually molesting an 11-year-old boy and two other 13-year-old males between 2002 and 2005.

According to court documents, a lead investigator spoke at the hearings testifying on further details otherwise kept sealed by police.

Fort Collins police officer Kim Cochran testified that the first two accusers had similar allegations of abuse, and that Snyder forced the boys to put their hands down his pants. Snyder is also alleged to have performed oral sex on them.

Snyder is the owner of Chess for Juniors and is a nationally known chess figure who has been teaching young people pawns and bishops for 22 years.

Court documents show one of the boys was also Snyder's stepson at the time. Snyder and the boy's mother annulled the marriage.

Snyder's lawyer, Edward Huttner of Huttner and Huttner in Denver, has always maintained the innocence of his client and said all three accusers are not credible.

A third young boy – whose father may be a professor at CSU – came forward late last year accusing the best-selling author of molesting him.

Friends of the chess master have come forward to allege a police conspiracy reaching as far back in the 1980s when Snyder was acquitted of similar charges.

Snyder faces up to life in jail if convicted on the four counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in the position of trust.

James Baetke can be reached at regional@collegian.com

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