Abuse Charges Won't Be Filed Against Snyder

Times Staff Writers

Criminal charges will not be filed against City Councilman Arthur K. Snyder for the alleged molestation of his 9-year-old daughter several years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said today.

Snyder, who announced in January that he would resign for other reasons, said he still intends to give up his council seat by September. In a telephone interview, Snyder said: "I suppose I feel vindicated. I always knew it wasn't true. I'm just relieved it's over. . . .

"The less said about it (the decision), the less celebration about it, the less difficult it will be for my daughter," he said, adding that he will try to see her soon.

Snyder's former wife, Michele Noval, said she was disappointed. "He should be made to stand trial . . . and not be given preferential treatment."

Both Ruled Unfit

The decision comes two months after a Dependency Court judge found Snyder and Noval both unfit to care for the child and ordered that she remain in foster care.

Police had taken the girl from Snyder's office last November, and she was temporarily placed at MacLaren Children's Center, the county shelter for abused and neglected children. On Christmas Eve, Dependency Court Judge Edward Kakita concluded that the evidence presented to him during an eight-day closed hearing substantiated allegations of abuse by both parents, including several molestations by Snyder.

Two physicians who specialize in child sexual abuse testified they had found physical evidence of years-old molestation, and the girl testified that her father had been the perpetrator.

The child reportedly is thriving in the private home where she now lives with foster parents, and that placement is not expected to be affected by today's decision. "She's suntanned, playing softball, and doing real well," according to a source close to the case.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said prosecutors based their decision on "the best interests of the child," not on evidence pointing to Snyder's guilt or innocence. The girl was reportedly unwilling to testify again in her father's presence.

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