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Berkley man accused of incest


Berkley man accused of incest

Human services employee believed to have fathered adopted daughter's child

By John Michalak

Daily Tribune Staff Writer

Thursday, January 10, 2008

BERKLEY -- A Berkley man faces a preliminary examination on eight alleged sexual assaults against an adopted daughter in what authorities claim was an incestuous relationship that produced a baby.


The accused, Gerald Dale Snapp, 43, worked for the Michigan Department of Human Services, an agency which handles cases involving sexually and physically abused children.

Snapp is held at the Oakland County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million cash bond pending his preliminary examination Jan. 29 in Berkley District Court.

"He worked for an agency whose goal is to protect children and families," said Oakland County assistant prosecuting attorney Robert Giles, head of office's Child Sexual Assault Division. "His job was to help families get grants and money for basic living expenses. He has had a number of foster children in the home.

"This child was brought into his house. He adopted her and got her pregnant. She was adopted by the time she had the child. She is an adult now. The tragedy is children who came to live in his home had suffered terrible abuse through their lives and he takes advantage of them."

Giles said the alleged victim has a different last name than Snapp.

Snapp, a 17-year employee with the Department of Human Services, has been suspended without pay pending outcome of the case, said agency spokeswoman Maureen Sorbet.

"He worked in our payments side where we make eligibility determinations for cash assistance, food assistance, Medicaid and other things," Sorbet said. "He worked in the Oakland County office in Pontiac. He was formerly a licensed foster parent through a private agency."

While calling the case "unique," defense attorney Jerome Sabotta declined further comment until he reviews it.

Sabotta said he received the case Tuesday at a pre-exam conference at the Berkley District Court. The allegations, he added, are that the victim was a minor at the time who was incapable of giving consent.

However, Sabotta suggested Snapp isn't charged with anything to do with the conception and birth of the child.

Berkley Magistrate and court administrator Michael Zychowski said the alleged sexual assaults occurred over a three-year span while the victim was a minor.

The allegations became known to police through a Care House interview prior to Christmas. While a child was interviewed, authorities also had an opportunity to talk with the mother.

"It came to light (Snapp) was the father of the child," Giles said. "He is charged with having an incestuous relationship."

Police are continuing the investigation, authorities said.

"This poor woman's life has been one tragedy after another," Giles said. "She is a nice woman, but tough. This is something that hopefully is helping her."

Zychowski said Snapp is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC); two counts each of second- and fourth-degree CSC; and three counts of third-degree CSC. Snapp was arraigned Dec. 21.

Giles said two witnesses are expected to testify at the preliminary examination unless Snapp decides to waive it.

Contact John Michalak at john.michalak@dailytribune.com or (248) 591-2521.

2008 Jan 10