A San Patricio County jury has found the principal of Ingleside High School, Steven Snyder, not guilty on both of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and indecency with a child by contact.
The jury came back with a verdict at around 2 p.m. Thursday. It was a very emotional moment in the courtroom as the verdict was read, with many of Snyder's supporters crying tears of joy and relief.
Cameras were not allowed inside the second-floor district courtroom, but 3News was able to shoot video of Snyder and his family and supporters on the first floor and outside the courtroom after the verdict.
Snyder was accused of sexually assaulting a child on two different occasions at his home in 2009. The accuser was 11-years old at the time of the alleged incidents, and is a family member of Snyder's.
Earlier this week, the accuser cried on the witness stand as she detailed the allegations against Snyder. Evidence in the trial began being heard on Tuesday, and sometime after noon Thursday, jury deliberations began. In less than two hours, the jury found Snyder not guilty on both counts.
"I'm just glad this is over," Snyder said. "I'm going to spend time with my family, wife. Praise God. We serve an awesome God."
"Anytime anybody has this allegation, alleged or made against them, it's every man's nightmare," Snyder's defense attorney Jimmy Granberry said. "Steve is one of the finest men I've ever met. The community support that they had. The kids had a Free Mr. Snyder Facebook page. The whole city of Ingleside was backing him up, tying green ribbons, that kind of thing. All the kids wanted to come to the courthouse. A lot of kids did. We tried to tone that down a bit. This is a guy that has lived his life in the most Christlike manner that I've ever seen. It was an honor to represent him."
Snyder has been on paid administrative leave since July 2011, when the allegations became public. At that time, the assistant principal Danny Glover stepped into the position. The superintendent's office said it will be up to the board of trustees to decide Snyder's future position and employment.
There was no one in the courtroom from the accuser's side. The father of the accuser left after closing arguments and did not return for the verdict.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and KIII. All Rights Reserved.