Trial continues for former Neches ISD principal facing criminal charges
PALESTINE, Texas (KLTV) - The trial for a former Neches ISD principal facing criminal charges continued Wednesday.
Kimberlyn Ann Snider faces charges of official oppression and tampering with evidence related to a sexual assault investigation. Her trial had previously been scheduled to take place in August of this year, but was postponed due to one of the necessary parties in the trial having COVID-19.
Before that, a trial took place in March, but ended with a mistrial after the defense attorney suffered a medical emergency.
Wednesday, the state continued presenting evidence in their case.
Sha-Ree Hudson, school counselor at Neches ISD was the first to testify. She said she has been an employee with the district for 27 years. She said she and Snider worked closely together on whatever needed to be done to get stuff done.
She said one day, Snider asked her to get some volleyball team girls out of class. The counselor called them out of class and said it’s standard for her to call students over the intercom. After she got girls into room, the counselor says she went back to her office to work.
The defense began their statements. Kim Snider’s attorney, Steven Green, began questioning the counselor.
The counselor said there’s many reasons to call students out of class, it’s not uncommon. The high school principal was not on high school campus, which is why she called student for Snider, who was on high school campus that day. The counselor said if there’s an issue on campus and the principal is out, they’d call Snider, and vice versa. The counselor said she doesn’t know what students came in what order.
When asked what happened in the room, the counselor said “I have zero idea.” They shut the door and that was it. She said Snider asked her for an envelope and she did it, she’s helped grab things before if needed.
The state called a student that was involved. The student said she went to school at Neches High School and graduated in 2022. She says she’d never been called to the office before until this time. She said she was first one to be called in.
The Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell backed up a bit. People who didn’t have first period class would go into library to work on college prep work. The student says they’d talk about anything. She says they were talking about what they may have heard and said they were making assumptions. One of the students said “it might have been a dream.”
Snider told her to write it and date paper. She said when the other girls came in Snider told them to write down what this girl wrote, and to sign and date the paper.
She said Snider never said don’t get the volleyball team involved in this alleged allegation at another school. She said she didn’t think much about it because an adult asked her to do something and she didn’t think much of it until she called her parents and talked to them about it.
She said she wasn’t told the purpose of making the statement. After they wrote the statement, the student said they were free to leave, but advised to leave a specific way so the final girl being called wouldn’t see this group of four girls.
The defense came up. Snider’s attorney questioned the witness who confirmed four girls were in the room together.
The attorney showed the witness the state’s exhibit. The girl said its her handwriting, dated Sept. 25, 2020.
She said she went to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office to meet with an investigator sometime in Oct. 2020.
The state came back up. Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell went over the what ifs.
The student said the statement that Snider made her write doesn’t say “what if”. When the girls were in the library they were asking each other, what if this is really what happened,
The state called another girl who was involved. She said she graduated from Neches High School in 2021 and played volleyball at the school. She said she was friends with the other girls involved. She said they found out about the alleged sexual assault allegation between two people and they talked about it. She said its not uncommon to talk about what’s going on in their lives. She said they were in shock because they grew up with these people. The girl said when she was in class the next day, she was called to the office.
She said when she got into the room, Snider told the first girl what she wrote and said have them write it. She said she wrote what the first girl wrote because Snider is an adult and she wanted to do what she said. She says when she got home she talked to her parents, it came up in conversation and she was also confused about it.
The defense went over the witnesses written statement.
“I wrote what I was told to write,” she said.
It’s her testimony that the first girl was told what to write.
The state called the next witness, another student and the third student to testify Wednesday.
She said she went to Neches since Kindergarten and graduated in 2021. She said she and her friends would talk in the college prep class and talked about anything. She says she was surprised about the allegations.
The witness says they talked about what had happened, hypothesized, what ifs, said they were making assumptions on the alleged sexual assault between two friends they knew. She said she was called out of class the next day to the office. She said she has been called before because she was an aid and would help.
She said she went to the office and then went to the room next door with three other girls and Snider. She said she was confused about what was happening. She said when they got in the room, Snider told the first girl to tell them what Snider told her to write and then have these girls write that. The witness said Snider told the girls being called in wasn’t a big deal. The witness said they never really got an explanation for why they were writing these. They tried to get their statements back because they realized it was something they shouldn’t have been made to do.
A fourth student was called to testify, saying in late Sept. 2020 the girls were talking about the alleged case. The next day she was called out of class to the office and was told by one of three other girls in the room what to write down. The witness said she wrote what she was told to write. She said the statement wasn’t true because it’s not what had been said. The witness said Snider told them she was getting statements for a lawyer in town that had called her. The defense asked if her statement was the same as the other girls and she said she believes so.
A fifth student called to testify said she was close with “Sherry”, (court pseudonym for girl involved in sexual assault allegations). The witness said Sherry reached out to her about the alleged incident. The witness said what the girls were saying wasn’t exactly what Sherry had told her. She testified she was called out of class the next day, saw Snider but not any of the other girls. She said Snider told her to sign and date a paper, writing down what Sherry told her. The witness said Snider asked why her statement was different from the other four girls and why this witness lied. She said she corrected Snider about what was said being different than the statement. She said she talked to the other girls, and her parents and tried to get her personal statement back but couldn’t. The witness said Snider told the girls the DA had called Snider and she was giving the statements to the DA.
During the defense questioning the witness, she said the girls talked to Sherry’s mother about the statements and their attempts to get them back.
When the state continued questioning, the witness testified she saw police cars at the school when she returned from a volleyball game with Sherry and Sherry’s mother. She explained she thought the police were picking up the statements they had given earlier. She said at that time she had not yet told Sherry about her statement.
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