Thomas Snider : Torrance wrestling coach charged with molesting 25 students on team

Thomas Snider : Torrance wrestling coach charged with molesting 25 students on team

Thomas Snider, a high school wrestling coach from the South Bay has been arrested after 25 students accused him of inappropriately touching them.

Torrance resident Thomas Snider, 47, also is charged with eight misdemeanor counts of child annoyance, said Torrance Police Department spokesman Sgt. Paul Kranke.

“He came to the station and turned himself in,” Kranke said.

Thomas Snider is being held on $900,000 bail. An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled at the Torrance courthouse.

Thomas Snider was placed on paid administrative leave in January by the district when the allegations by students first surfaced. A subsequent criminal probe by police detectives lasted almost three months, after which the case was turned over to the District Attorney’s Office, Kranke said.

A spokesman with that office did not return a call.

In a brief statement Wednesday, Torrance Unified School District spokeswoman Tammy Khan said Snider is on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the proceedings.

“Mr. Snider has been a TUSD teacher since 1990, teaching career technical education courses,” Khan said. “As this is a personnel and legal matter, the district will have no further comment pending the outcome of the court proceedings.”

Kranke said all charges filed against Snider are related to his role with the wrestling team, not the computer classes he also teaches.

A letter from school Principal Karim Girgis is being sent to parents in the wake of Snider’s arrest, Khan said.

“Both Torrance HS and TUSD take student safety very seriously, and we fully cooperated with the Torrance Police Department during their investigation,” the letter reads in part. “Please be advised that the administrative team is available to answer any questions or concerns.”

However, the letter also said “because this continues to be a personnel and legal matter, we cannot share any additional details.”

To win a conviction, prosecutors must prove the inappropriate touching was deliberate and done for reasons of sexual gratification.

Los Angeles attorney Rosty Gore said Snider, who is married with children, has cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation and continues to maintain his innocence.

“We’ve only recently been apprised of these filed charges,” Gore said. “We are in the process of reviewing the case and at this time we only have a very vague notion of what the charges against Mr. Snider are.

“Mr. Snider has not committed any criminal acts,” Gore added. “At the conclusion of this matter he will be cleared. It has been very harmful and hurtful for his family and at this time it’s premature to make any comment. We just want to be sure Mr. Snider will receive a fair trial and the truth will be known.”

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the Torrance Police Department Detective Division at 310-618-5570.