Jan 152007
Authors: James Baetke

An Olympian-ranked chess coach has pled guilty to molesting three of his former chess students in a plea agreement that will keep him out of prison.

Robert Snyder, 52, pled guilty earlier this month to one count of sexual assault on a child and one count of unlawful sexual contact, according to Larimer County District Court records.

Under the plea deal, Snyder will spend a two-year sentence in the Larimer County Detention Center and upon his release will be recognized as a sex offender the rest of his life, undergoing intensive supervised probation.

Snyder, who operated a chess camp for children out of his Fort Collins home, was arrested in Sept. 2005 when two young boys from his camp alleged they were sexually assaulted by their coach.

Later, a third accuser claimed he had been molested after news coverage urged the boy to tell authorities.

In 1983, a California jury acquitted Snyder of similar charges. In this earlier case Snyder was arrested a day after the father of a chess student came home and found Snyder and the boy in a bedroom with a chair wedged against the door. Snyder was later acquitted on four counts of sexual assault; the jury deadlocked on a fifth.

Neither Snyder nor his legal counsel returned calls by the Collegian.

City editor James Baetke can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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