A Sitka man is facing fifteen felony counts on sex-related crimes.
The Sitka Grand Jury on Friday (09-18-15) indicted Brandon J. Snyder, age 33, on six counts of sexual abuse of a minor and seven counts of indecent viewing or photography.
Snyder was dismissed on Monday (09-14-15) from his position at the Sitka Tribe of Alaska as the Home to School liaison for the Language & Education Department. He’s held the position since last winter. This included activities with the Sitka Boys and Girls Club, the local chapter of a national after school program.
Tribal Chairman Mike Baines released a letter on behalf of Sitka Tribe of Alaska, saying, “STA will not permit any person to use a position of trust to prey upon anyone, most especially a child who is a tribal citizen.”
The letter adds that STA is taking extra precautions to ensure all potential employees are screened and receive background checks. Snyder cleared all background checks at the time of his employment.
Baines said that STA has been meeting with the Sitka Police Department, the Sitka School District, and Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV). He added, quote, “Our staff and counselor are pretty traumatized emotionally, but everyone seems committed to pulling through this.”
Sitka Tribe encourages any children or families who may be affected by these allegations to contact the Sitka Police Department or SAFV at 747-3370.
The full letter by Mike Baines of Sitka Tribe of Alaska is below:
This letter is to acknowledge to the Sitka community that a crime is alleged to have been committed by an individual who was an employee of Sitka Tribe of Alaska but has since been terminated. This employee was employed by the STA Language & Education Department as the Home to School Liaison since last winter. He is no longer an employee of STA, having been terminated as of September 14, 2015.
The criminal complaint alleges a breach of every area of trust given by the STA as his employer, by co-workers, students of the Sitka School District and the citizens of Sitka. Our children are the most treasured and vulnerable people in our community. STA will not permit any person to use a position of trust to prey upon anyone, most especially a child who is a tribal citizen.
I want to assure you that STA took and still takes every precaution within legal limits to ensure all potential employees are thoroughly screened and their background checked – especially those working within the school system in our Language and Education Department. This former employee cleared this background check and by all indications, was well liked in the community and a good fit for his position as the Home to School Liaison which included the Boys and Girls Club activities.
We are working closely with the Sitka Police Department, the Sitka School District, and Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) to work through this time to support the victim and her family. We ask that you provide prayers for the victim and her family for strength to deal with the pain this has brought to them. The case is now in the hands of the court system. Consequently, STA employees cannot comment on the details of this legal matter.
A spokesperson from SAFV advises parents to check in with their children, especially teens. It’s a good time to familiarize them with the laws surrounding consent; and SAFV will update any parent or teen who calls to clarify the laws. Also, when something like this happens, it can trigger anyone and cause a variety of disruptive feelings. If anyone is experiencing a change in sleep patterns, anxiety, displaced anger, hyper vigilance, or just needs to vent, please consider a close friend or call and speak to a SAFV advocate at any time at 747-3370.
STA is honored to be in partnership with the Sitka School District, Sitka Native Education Program (SNEP), Boys and Girls Clubs, the Sitka Police Department, and SAFV as all continue to support our citizens in Sitka – especially our children. The SNEP program is unparalleled in any school district for its focus on Native cultural education within the school curriculum. The program, because of the mission and collaboration, will continue to be strong in spite of this setback. STA will also remain strong because of our wonderful partners who stand with us.
If you know of any children or families who may also be impacted by any such breach of trust, please contact the Sitka Police Department or SAFV as soon as possible.
Sitka Tribe of Alaska
(907) 738-3729 cell