Robert Snyder, chess teacher who made moves on kids: Shmuck of the Week
Robert Snyder had all the wrong moves.
Chess masters are adept at manipulation, which is fine when it involves game pieces. But not when children are the ones being manipulated.
Like the ones unlucky enough to have been taught by Robert Snyder, who this week was sentenced in Larimer County Court to at least twelve years in stir for sexual assault on a child.
Creepy? You don't know the half of it.
According to Snyder's profile on America's Most Wanted, which spotlighted him after he fled the U.S. for Belize (where, naturally, he taught chess to kids), he once schooled grownups, including some famous ones -- Will Smith and Nicolas Cage are name-checked. But he ultimately began to specialize in children, in more ways than one. This segment from the AMW piece is typical:
Police say Snyder took advantage of one child after he befriended the child's mother at chess tournaments, and she eventually became his wife.
This, cops allege, allowed Snyder to spend more time with the young boy, taking him out of the state on trips, and over a four-month period, sexually molesting him and training him to be his sex slave.
Eventually the child got up the courage to tell his mother that he did not want to go out of town with Snyder any more, and that he wanted her to always be with him.
The child's mom knew there was a problem, but she wasn't sure exactly what. The mom even questioned her child about Snyder touching him inappropriately, but the young boy was too traumatized to speak up.
"I didn't want to get hurt, I didn't want my mother to get hurt, I didn't want my brother and father to get hurt," the molestation survivor, who AMW will not identify, said.
Snyder and the child's mom separated after she wouldn't let Snyder alone with her son again. She says Snyder became extremely agitated.
Finally, after one long year, the child couldn't keep it inside, and the truth came out: the boy told a therapist that Robert Snyder had indeed sexually molested him.
Now, Snyder will have plenty of time to play chess, but not with young and vulnerable students he can turn into pawns in his own sick game.
Which is why he richly deserves to join all our other Shmucks as a Shmuck of the Week.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.