Chess in the news
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
In keeping with the policy of this blog to present the naked chess community as it really is, without cosmetic makeup or group photos of smiling little children to hide behind, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…
Convicted sex offender sentenced for fleeing
CHESS TEACHER TO SERVE 12 YEARS TO LIFE!
(AP) – 14 hours ago
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A youth chess teacher who moved to Belize when he was supposed to be serving probation in Colorado as a convicted sex offender has been sentenced to 12 years to life in prison.
Robert Snyder was sentenced Tuesday in Fort Collins.
Snyder spent two years in jail in a pedophilia case and was supposed to register for special sex-offender supervision after he was released in August 2008. Instead, authorities say, he fled the country.
Authorities tracked him down last year in Belize after he was featured on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.”
Larimer County District Judge Dave Williams says Snyder used his expertise at chess to lure boys and their families into his confidence.
Snyder spent two years in county jail for unlawful sexual contact, but fled the country upon his release in August 2008, instead of registering for special sex-offender supervision.
Fort Collins police, with the help of the television show America’s Most Wanted, eventually tracked Snyder down in Belize where he had married a female police officer with two young children. In court, prosecutors showed a picture of Snyder playing chess with young boys in Belize.
Despite pleading guilty to the charges that initially jailed him, Snyder maintains his innocence. In a statement distributed to the media, Snyder said he has done nothing wrong except flee the country.
Prosecutors said Snyder somehow managed to obtain a Mexican birth certificate, driver’s license and passport while incarcerated at the Larimer County Detention Center.
Judge Dave Williams said Snyder’s “blame the victim” mentality makes him a threat. Williams said Snyder used his expertise at chess to lure young men and their families into his confidence.
“Mr. Snyder is a pedophile, beyond a doubt,” Williams said in pronouncing the sentence.
Prosecutor Cliff Riedel said Snyder plays two games, chess and “pedophile chess.” He cited allegations that Snyder assaulted young boys as long ago as 1983. Riedel said a therapists who interviewed Snyder while he was in custody concluded he is narcissistic, manipulative and “not amenable to treatment.” Prosecutors say Snyder sometimes even seduced mothers to get at their sons.
“There may be more victims. If history is any lesson, there probably are,” Riedel said.
The mother of one victim, and the father of another, said their sons are still struggling to recover, years down the road.
“We’re not OK, still,” said the mother, whose name the Coloradoan is withholding so as to not publicly identify her son. “The devastation and the hurt and the damage is with us today and for the rest of our lives.”
AND CLOSER TO HOME, CANADIAN CHESS OFFICIALS MAINTAIN WALL OF SILENCE
”MOST CORRUPT” CHESS COMMUNITY IN NORTH AMERICA ?
$120,000 disappears into thin air and no questions asked! _____________________________________________
THE FACES OF THE PRESENT SCANDAL: REMEMBER THEM!
Clockwise from upper left: Eric van Dusen , Chris Mallon, Barry Thorvardson, Hal Bond, Stijn de Kerpel
The readers were informed in a December 5 blog entry about the on-going scandal in Canadian chess involving 120,000 dollars of Ontario Trillium Foundation money that disappeared between 2006 and 2007. Perhaps ‘disappeared’ is not the most accurate word: for the then Ontario Chess Association (OCA) President, Barry Thorvardson, simply refuses to say what happened to it and long time OCA cronies Eric van Dusen, Stijn de Kerpel, Hal Bond and Chris Mallon have now decided not to pursue the issue nor to contact the authorities, despite the wish of the membership to discover the truth of what really happened.
This laissez-faire attitude by (ex)OCA officials towards their civic and legal responsibilities in the face of Mr. Thorvardson’s refusal to cooperate and account for the missing money has shocked many within the Canadian Chess Community. It is a complete abdication of collective responsibilities. Some members are wondering why the police have not been called in to investigate. What do they have to fear?
Others are wondering if the real problem does not run deeper than just an isolated episiode of flagrant disregard of Canadian law and might be symptomatic of bigger problems in the OCA leadership. Case in point: an ex-OCA official who just couldn’t give a shit about the entire sordid affair is Roger Patterson (now Victoria Chess Club organizer) :
”As much as many people have been critical of Barry over the Trillium spending, he thought of it, he did the prep work, he did all of the leg work in getting it. None of that money was the OCAs….OCA members have not been hard done by this.” (Roger Patterson from chesstalk message board)
Roger Patterson: lost in space
According to this logic, it is ok if the OCA is used as a vehicle to defraud Trillium, providing the OCA membership is kept in the dark and made unaware.
When Trillium began to get worried that the money was being misused, they hastily held a meeting with the OCA President Mr. Thorvardsson and OCA Vice-President Mr. Bond. Trillium immediately cut all further cooperation with the OCA following the meeting.
Neither Mr. Bond nor Mr. Thorvardsson have ever reported back to the membership what transpired…inspite of repeated requests. The minutes of the OCA meetings remain unpublished and are not accessable to the chess public.
The most remarkable aspect of the unaccounted for 120,000 dollars (over a two year period) is that AGM minutes and OCA records indicate that not a single serious question was ever raised about the Trillium money and what it was spent on…was the OCA Executive sleeping? (and with whom?)
The first time that the OCA executive gave any indication of something being wrong or that some wrong doing had taken place is AFTER Trillium had already disassociated itself from the OCA (and cut off all further funding). Hal Bond introduced a motion of censureship of Mr. Thorvardsson , a mere slap on the wrist and purely theatrical in substance. It is true that Mr. Thorvardsson was in violation of numerous articles of the OCA constitution, but this is something that had been going on for two whole years! And everybody knew it, but kept quiet. Furthermore, Mr. Thorvardsson did not have total signing rights for cheques: atleast one other person must have known exactly what Barry was doing all the time.
Mr. Bond should have himself been forced to disclose his own role in the 2 previous years as VP of the OCA. In effect, Mr. Thorvardsson was made a scape goat. A well paid scape goat, it is true, but too convenient ! Could it be that he was not the only OCA executive who received Trillium money?
The minutes of the following agm of the OCA have never been published. And for as long as Mr. Thorvardsson is not forced to give a detailed account of what he did with the Trillium money, there is no way to accurately know the role of the other members of the OCA executive. The present CFC executive (comprised mostly of OCA politicos) seems bent, ironically, on making sure that Mr. Thorvardsson does not need to tell his side of the story.
In late December 2009, a perversely OCA-biased CFC Executive report into Mr. Thorvardsson’s actions was released to the public. This report all but awards Mr. Thorvardsson a medal. It almost completely exonerates Mr. Thorvardsson of any wrong doing and abuse, and instead suggests that some nominal changes in the wording of the OCA constitution would prevent a recurrance!(www.chesscanada.info/forum)
Inspite of their subsequent platitudes and rationalizations of the obvious inadequacy of the report , it is clear that both Mr. Van Dusen and Mr. Mallon have always stood in the way of getting to the bottom of the truth and that any future legal proceedings against Mr. Thorvardsson must also avail itself of the option of including Mr. Van Dusen and Mr. Mallon. Things can not be more clear: Mr. Thorvardsson did not act in a vacuum.
In his address to the chess community in the most recently published national newsletter of the Canadian Chess Federation, CFC president Eric Van Dusen did not mention even one word concerning the growing scandal and embarrassment. The federation executive, composed virtually entirely of OCA delegates directly involved at various stages of the Trillium fiasco, is desperately trying to ignore calls for an unbiased investigation and/or legal action.
Mr. Les Bunning, many time President of the CFC and legal council for the CFC up until last year, has written on a Canadian chess-message board that the two year period inwhich to undertake legal action against those involved has not yet expired. CFC president Eric van Dusen has ignored this advice.
It is believed that this period will expire within several months. In the meantime, Mr. Van Dusen has already began his re-election campaign.