Former East Texas elementary school principal found not guilty of official oppression and tampering with evidence

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An Anderson County jury has acquitted a former east Texas elementary school principal of obstructing a sexual abuse investigation and intimidating witnesses.

At the Palestine County Courthouse, a jury found Kimberly Snider not guilty of five misdemeanor counts of official oppression and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence with intent to harm. She could have been incarcerated for more than a decade if the jury had convicted her on all counts.

The original indictment alleged that Snider interfered with an investigation into alleged child sexual abuse. However, prosecutors reportedly corrected the indictment the day before the jury received the case, admitting that the investigation in question did not involve children.

The Anderson County District Attorney’s Office charged Snider in January of last year and she was eventually placed on administrative leave. Snider’s husband was the superintendent of the Neches Independent School District at the time and it was he who made the decision to keep her employed.

After the verdicts were announced, Snider’s attorney told local media that he expected the jury to agree with his client.

“Kim and I knew from the start that once a jury heard our case, her case, they would find her not guilty,” Steve Green said. “And that took a long time to come. It’s been almost two years. We are certainly not surprised by the verdict.

Neches ISD School Board candidate Kaitlin Scroggins wrote in a statement after the announcement that she was disappointed with the verdicts but pleased with some of the school policy changes that resulted.

“The faces of these girls and their parents as the verdict was read were heartbreaking. They did their part and thought justice would be served. So many people who have been victimized by her for decades and they thought something would finally be done. We mourn them and send them strength.

Scroggins heads a local interest group called Changes for Neches, which has been campaigning against Snider for years.

Judge Deborah Oakes Evans presided over the case in the 87th District Court. Snider’s first trial in March was cut short after Green suffered a medical emergency during the proceedings.

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