Torrance High School Wrestling Molestation
On April 16th, Torrance High School wrestling coach Thomas Snider, turned himself into the Torrance Police Department after a three-month long police investigation of misconduct and inappropriate behavior.
Snider, who has taught at Torrance High School since 1990 before coaching the Torrance wrestling team two years ago, has been arrested and charged with 33 felony counts of inappropriately touching children and eight misdemeanor counts of child molestation.
The 25 students Snider is accused of molesting are all members of the Torrance wrestling team between the ages of 13 and 16. The alleged misconduct is said to have occurred between September 2013 and January 2015.
The LA Times quoted Torrance High School parent Elba Ruiz:
“He’s a really nice person. He was my son’s teacher, and he never said anything to me that would make me think he would do something like this.”
Ruiz went on to express that the authorities should spend more time investigating the student’s claims.
For Parents of Torrance High School Students
Especially the members of Torrance’s wrestling team, claims that Snider was a “nice person” are likely doing very little to assuage the fear that their child may have been violated by a trusted figure.
If you have reason to believe your child was affected by Snider’s allegedly inappropriate behavior, there are steps you can take immediately to protect your child from further harm:
If Your Child Has Been Molested at Torrance High School
For parents of the 25 victims on Torrance’s wrestling team: You want to protect your child, but what are the best things to say and do? How do you even process your own feelings while providing support? If you’re feeling confused, you’re not alone.
No parent is prepared for how to act when faced with the victimization of your child.
However, this period is critical. Know that the most difficult emotions a victim of molestation struggles with are shame and concerns that the sexual abuse was in some way their fault.
See also: Is it Really “Less Bad” For Boys?
So what can you do?
Avoid reacting negatively or with disgust to anything your child shares. Express unconditional love, belief, and support. It is vital to your child’s emotional well-being that they feel comfortable speaking with you. Do not be afraid to start the conversation.
It’s Imperative That You Seek Counseling Immediately
If you’re having difficulty speaking to your child and engaging them in a healthy conversation, or recognize abnormal behavior, know that the immense stress of sexual abuse can lead to PTSD. These symptoms can seriously limit your child’s ability to recover and make getting professional help a priority.
See also: Watch Your Child For PTSD
The negative impact of molestation over a lifetime is well documented. Victims of sexual abuse face higher risks of substance addiction, depression, difficulty forming healthy relationships, and even physical health problems. Victims of child molestation are also prone to panic attacks and debilitating stress that can impact healthy growth immediately after their abuse and last a lifetime.
There is hope. Research shows that victims who receive professional counseling, enjoy the support of their family and are encouraged to speak openly about their molestation can go on to life a life that is not defined by sexual abuse.
However, to reinforce a sense of self worth and understand that they are truly not at fault for their trauma, it is imperative that you seek professional counseling for your child immediately so that you child can feel comfortable expressing themselves, learn healthy methods of coping and emotional self-protection, and how to resume normal life as healing begins.
There are a number of different methods to start the healing process. If you’re not sure which might be best for your child and family, see our breakdown of Counseling Options.
Consider Your Legal Options
At this moment, Thomas Snider’s arrest for alleged crimes may have victims and their wondering what to do next. Is a criminal conviction enough to help your family move forward?
Many parents are surprised to understand there are additional legal options beyond the criminal justice system, much less that civil claims can provide the restitution necessary to help support your family throughout seeking professional help and moving forward.
See also: Know Your Rights: Criminal vs. Civil Law
Does Torrance High School Share Responsibility?
Did they act quickly enough? Brian Araiza, a captain on Torrance High School’s wrestling team, told the LA Times:
“They said it was happening, some of my teammates. I never really believed it.”
The idea that these alleged molestations were occurring over a two-year period – much less by a member of staff who has had access to students for over two decades – may have many parents wondering if, in fact, this was really the first sign of trouble.
See also: Holding Youth Organizations Accountable
And if so, how responsible is the school for what trauma may have been inflicted on these 25 students? And how many others?
Blaming a predator is easier than holding an organization or school accountable. However, the events at Torrance High School may leave many parents questioning just how long Torrance High School Prioritized protecting their own staff and image, over the safety of their students.
If your child attends Torrance High School and you are concerned about the possibility that your child was victimized, or want guidance regarding what steps to take next, contact Keep Kids Safe by calling 408-915-5400 or 858-926-5800 for immediate help. You can also reach out by email by clicking the pink envelope on the left of your screen.