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Published: Wednesday, 7/2/2003

Ex-coroner is placed on probation

LIMA, Ohio - A physician and former county coroner who solicited sex from a 14-year-old girl over the Internet was placed on probation for five years and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service yesterday.

Dr. Geoffrey Snyder, 36, of Lewisville, Ohio, also was ordered to spend 45 days in the Allen County jail, but the sentence was delayed while his attorney appeals the conviction.

Attorney William Kluge said he will file an appeal this week challenging the constitutionality of the law Snyder was charged with breaking.

In March, Common Pleas Judge Richard Warren ruled that police had not entrapped Snyder when they created a fictitious Internet identity for a 14-year-old girl and chatted with Snyder, who used the name, “man that heals.”

After numerous online conversations with the undercover officer, Snyder made arrangements to meet the young girl in Lima for sex. He drove from his southern Ohio home to the east-side Kewpee restaurant Sept. 26, hugged the girl who was a police decoy, asked her if she was ready to go, and was promptly arrested by Lima police.

“The court is convinced this case is about more than just thinking about it and more than just, as I think Jimmy Carter said years ago, lusting in your heart,” Judge Warren said.

The judge said Snyder took advantage of his position of trust in the community as a physician and as the Monroe County, Ohio, coroner. He said Snyder had shown no remorse.

“I guess what's disturbing this court is you claim you're the victim when the people of Monroe County are the victim,” Judge Warren said.

Dressed in a white shirt and stars-and-stripes necktie, Snyder spoke briefly before sentencing.

“I apologize to this court and this community and my community for the actions that occurred,” he said.

“I would hope so,” Judge Warren replied.

Snyder, who has a general medical practice in Woodsfield, Ohio, near the West Virginia border, resigned as coroner in May shortly after he pleaded no contest and was convicted of importuning, a fifth-degree felony. He is still practicing medicine, although on June 11 the Ohio State Medical Board issued a formal charge against him relating to the criminal conviction.

Lauren Lubow, spokesman for the medical board, said Snyder has 30 days to request a hearing on the matter. If the board finds against him, it can impose penalties ranging from a reprimand to a permanent license revocation, Ms. Lubow said.

In a hearing before the sentencing, Judge Warren declared Snyder a sexually oriented offender, which means he must register his residence with the county sheriff every year for 10 years.

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