WPTV typically does not identify juveniles who are not charged with crimes. However, because of the details outlined in the defendant’s motion to dismiss, which is a public record, WPTV is reporting the details set forth in the defendant’s court filing, which identifies the juvenile who was not charged with a crime.
The attorney for an assistant principal at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington fought Monday to get a criminal charge against his client dismissed after the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the educator failed to report the suspected sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.
Daniel Snider, 49, was one of five school staffers arrested on July 24 for failure to report sexual abuse.
Snider has filed a motion to dismiss the third-degree felony charge against him, saying he was not legally required to report the allegations to law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families because, in part, he didn't believe the suspect, his own son, had committed a crime.
A hearing on the motion was held Monday in front of Circuit Court Judge Scott Suskauer.
Leonard Feuer, Snider's attorney, argued his client was not obligated to report the allegations to DCF, in part, because Snider did not know or have reasonable cause to suspect an assault took place, as the law states.
Suskauer did not issue a ruling on the motion Monday.
Snider, along with Palm Beach Central principal Darren Edgecomb, 59, assistant principal Nereyda Cayado De Garcia, 58, chorus teacher Scott Houchins, 53, and former school behavioral therapist Priscilla Carter, 55, have all pleaded not guilty.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education
According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office incident report, a 15-year-old girl claimed Snider's son "repeatedly inappropriately touched" her at Lake Worth Beach on April 2, 2021.
More than four months later, on Aug. 16, 2021, the girl told a friend in chorus class that she was "molested" by Snider's son.
That friend then went to Snider directly and told him, "Your son sexually assaulted one of my friends," the incident report said.
Snider told the girl to fill out a student incident statement, in which she reiterated the allegations against Snider's son. Snider then read the entire statement in front of the girl, according to the State Attorney's Office.
Snider reported the allegations to Edgecomb, the school's principal. But he did not, however, notify DCF, which the State Attorney's Office said Snider was required to do as a mandatory reporter under state law.
However, Snider's motion to dismiss claims the assistant principal did not have "reasonable cause to suspect" — as state law reads — that his son had committed a crime, and therefore, was not legally required to report the allegations to authorities.
Snider "maintains to this day that his son is innocent of any alleged sexual abuse or juvenile sexual abuse," the motion stated, adding that "Snider did not know or suspect his son had committed an act of sexual abuse or juvenile sexual abuse."
In addition, Snider has text messages between his son and the girl to back up his beliefs, the motion said.
The motion added that "Snider did not prevent another person from reporting such information to the central abuse hotline of the Department of Children and Families."
In its legal response to Snider's motion, the State Attorney's Office argued that Snider was presented with enough evidence that, at the very least, required him to notify DCF.
"His personal thoughts and feelings about his son's actions have no place here, and while he may want to believe his son could never do such a thing, he was nevertheless presented with evidence that at the very least required DCF notification," the State Attorney's Office said in its response.
Prosecutors admitted that Snider was perhaps in a "precarious position" because the allegations were against his son. However, "reporting cases of abuse to DCF is what gets the ball rolling, not what wraps up a case," the response said.
- How are school employees trained to report suspected child abuse and neglect?
- 'Grave alarm:' U.S. Sen. Rick Scott wants arrested Palm Beach Central High School staffers fired
- District 'committed' to having Palm Beach Central 'ready to go' following arrests, superintendent says
- Palm Beach Central staffers may have known about alleged sexual assault of girl months before parents
- Palm Beach County schools 'go above state requirements' in training to report abuse, district says
- How to discuss Palm Beach Central High School allegations with your children
Snider's son was never arrested or charged in the case because, ultimately, the girl's father did not want to pursue criminal charges against the boy, and instead wanted his daughter to focus on her mental health, well-being, and recovery.
Four of the five Palm Beach Central High School staffers arrested have been employed with the School District of Palm Beach County for more than 20 years. All have been reassigned to positions away from students.
Reggie Myers, the retired former principal at Park Vista Community High School, is now serving as the interim principal of Palm Beach Central High School.