Time to change the habits


Hundreds of mourners gathered in Massachusetts to remember Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher allegedly killed by one of her students.

ANDOVER, Mass. — A 24-year-old Massachusetts high school teacher allegedly killed by one of her students was an ever-positive, OtterBox Commuter Wallet Case uplifting influence on all who knew her, a former roommate recalled Sunday as hundreds of mourners turned out for the slain educator's viewing.

Mourners embraced each other and wiped away tears as they attended the visitation for Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer, whose body was found in the woods behind the school on Tuesday.

"She was an inspiration to me to live my life to the fullest every single day Preserver Series," said college roommate Caroline Rufo.

"There's going to be a void forever in our hearts," Rufo said at Andover's St. Augustine Church. "I don't know that anything can ever fill that."

Police said Ritzer was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday. Fourteen-year-old Philip Chism is charged with murder in her death. He has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities have not disclosed many details of Ritzer's death, including how she was killed or any alleged motive.

A statement released by Chism's public defender said the teen's mother, Diana Chism, is heartbroken for Ritzer's family.

Related: Mass. mom's 'heart is broken' over teacher killing

"She asks that you know that she cares for the world's hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son, and all those affected by this tragedy," the statement said nu skin.

Philip Chism was arrested early Wednesday walking along a road in a nearby town.

Ritzer's family has established a memorial scholarship fund to benefit Andover High School graduates who also pursue teaching careers.

Ritzer's funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday.

Lynne Spalding disappeared from her room at San Francisco General Hospital. Her body was found in a locked stairwell at the hospital more than two weeks later.

SAN FRANCISCO — Investigators looking into the death of a woman found in a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital are looking into reports that an orderly told hospital authorities he saw an unconscious woman there a week before her body was found g-suite in oldham.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that it's still unclear why the Sheriff's Department did not locate the woman after hospital authorities reported the worker's finding.

Lynne Spalding, 57, disappeared from her room Sept. 21, two days after she was admitted for an infection. Her body was found Oct. 8 in the locked stairwell.

The cause of her death has not been determined, but authorities do not suspect foul play. Investigators believe she had been dead for several days when her body was discovered.

"We the family, until we get an official report, there is nothing more we can do but wait. It's all horrifying," David Perry, a spokesman for the family, g-suite manchester said Friday. "If this story could get any more horrifying, it just did."

According to the newspaper, the orderly told a nurse on Oct. 1 that he had seen a woman, apparently passed out, in the stairwell. The orderly said he had stepped over the prone woman twice, once going downstairs and again when he returned to the door that he had used to enter the stairwell.

The nurse contacted the Sheriff's Department, which provides security at San Francisco General. Police have not been able to determine how the department responded, the newspaper said. It's possible no deputy responded, or that the deputy was dispatched to the wrong location.

It unclear whether the woman was still alive when the orderly found her. There was nothing in the nurse's call to the Sheriff's Department that indicated the woman might have been dead g-suite cardinal, sources told the newspaper.

Spalding's family reported her missing on the day she vanished fearing medications might have confused her.

Former Saint John councillor and youth ministry leader Donnie Snook has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to 46 sex crimes against children.

Snook, 41, showed no emotion as he faced provincial court Judge Alfred Brien on Thursday.

Some people in the crowded courtroom gasped.

"Wish he had've got more," said Grace Murphy, who used to volunteer at the Chicken Noodle Club, the hot lunch program Snook ran for at-risk children as part of the Saint John Inner City Youth Ministry.

Murphy's daughter "grew up" at the club, where her late mother, who "loved" Snook, Set up Business in Hong Kong also volunteered.

"He pulled the wool over this whole community's eyes. And he's done so much damage you know, to the vulnerable children. And there was a lot of them and it's sad. It's sad," she said.

"Another five, 10 [years] would have been even nicer, but 18 years — better than the 10 that I was hearing he may get."

Eighteen years is "one of the longest sentences ever awarded in Canada" for such a case, Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock told reporters outside the courtroom.

The charges include sexual assault, making child pornography and extortion. They span 12 years and involve 17 male victims, some as young as five years old.

Lamrock had previously asked the court to consider a sentence of 21 years in prison, with no eligibility for parole until Snook served at least half his sentence, or 10 years, whichever was less.

The judge, however, rejected that request. He gave Snook 1½ 

Snook will be eligible for parole after serving less than six years.

"I hope this will begin the healing for the victims," the Crown said, declining further comment.

'Just is what we're looking for'

Defence lawyer Dennis Boyle, who has recommended a 12-year sentence, said he felt it was "a true and good sentence." 

"I think it was appropriate, and accurate and just — and just is what we're looking for," he said.

Snook's reaction was "that it's over now," said Boyle, who spoke briefly with his client following sentencing.

"You know, he’s been waiting and waiting and waiting for this — and he’s looking forward to the treatments that he can have, and those treatments are not only with his pedophilia, but he has received no treatment whatsoever for his own abuse as a child," he said, referring to Snook's allegation that he was abused by a family friend at age 10.

During sentencing, Brien said he hopes Snook will avail himself of "intensive" sex offender treatment for his "mental disorder."

A pre-sentence report indicated the driving factor behind Snook's actions was his deviant sexual interest in boys and that his risk of reoffending falls within the high end of the moderate range.

The judge also ordered him to provide a DNA sample, to be listed on the national sex offender's registry for life, formation of company and not to have any contact with his victims during his custodial sentence.

'Groomed' his victims

Brien said the aggravating factors in the case "far exceeded" the mitigating factors, and added deterrence and denunciation must be paramount in sentencing.

Brien said Snook's "grooming" of children in his trust was one of the aggravating factors in the case.

"It is clear that the accused used his personal skills and easy access to vulnerable children to exploit such for his own sexual gratification," the judge said, reading from his 34-page decision.

"He continued to use a very positive public persona to gain and hold the trust of others to allow him to continue his predatory ways almost with impunity," he said.

"He became emboldened in pursuing his desires, reckless and uncaring towards the very children who trusted him to help, not harm, them."

The court previously heard how Snook gave his victims alcohol and marijuana at his home, allowed them to watch pornography, and offered them financial "incentives" and other rewards for sexual activity. He also encouraged older children to sexually interact with younger children.

Some suffered single incidents, while others were subjected to years of routine abuse.

The victims expressed feelings of anger, fear, sadness, confusion and embarrassment in their victim impact statements, said Brien. The victims' parents expressed guilt for entrusting their children to Snook, who was elected to city council for a second four-year term in May 2012.

One parent wrote: "I live in daily fear that my oldest son will either end his own life through accident or suicide with the drugs and alcohol he has turned to, to numb the pain of his memories and emotions because of what he has endured."

'Duped' community

The judge also said Snook's "sudden and spectacular fall from grace has had a profound effect" on the entire community he essentially "duped."

"He used personal guile to continue the abuse for so long, and at the same time hold public office and promote children's programs," he said.

"His conduct, when truly revealed … undermined the efforts of all those who had supported him in his community endeavours. His conduct has fanned the negative sentiments of skepticism and distrust in community leadership and organizations."

Although Snook had previously expressed a sense of relief about being caught, the judge noted he had tried to escape with a laptop full of pornographic images when he was arrested — and showed no signs of trying to stop on his own.

He said Snook realized he was attracted to boys when he was about 19 or 20 and didn't seek any help, or remove himself from the temptation. In fact, he did just the opposite and surrounded himself with vulnerable children, he said.

"He took deliberate and devious ways to avoid detection so that he could not be caught," said Brien. "He abandoned the children, the families and his community. The relief and calm which he now says are present will ring hollow to many in the face of such stark reality."

Mitigating factors considered were that Snook pleaded guilty to the charges, co-operated with police, helping to identify some victims police would otherwise never have known about, and seemed genuinely remorseful in his statement during a sentencing hearing in August.

Help for victims

Snook's older sister Donna said it would be "wonderful" if her brother gets sex offender treatment while in prison.

She also hopes Snook's victims get help, she said.

"I think things need to change … I think people need to start worrying about whether or not these kids that have been victimized are getting counselling. They should all have to have counselling. Some of them are going to be in 10, 15 years, right back here in court and we're going to be doing this all over again."

Snook's sister went on to suggest that if Snook had gotten counselling after he was allegedly abused as a child, he would not have become an abuser.

However, a psychologist, who is an expert in risk assessment and behaviour, previously told the court only three to 12 per cent of abuse victims go on to sexually offend as adults.

4 more outstanding charges in N.L.

Snook is also facing four child exploitation charges in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He is accused of assaulting a boy while he was a pastor with the Salvation Army in Mount Moriah in the mid-1990s.

His defence lawyer said Snook intends to plead guilty to the two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference.

Boyle has asked for those charges to be transferred to Saint John, but could not speculate how long that might take.

He will request a concurrent sentence on those charges, he said.

Meanwhile, the Crown has requesting a forfeiture hearing, hoping to seize any of Snook's property that was related to the offences, Income Tax Hong Kong including his Martha Avenue bungalow, his SUV, a trailer and electronic equipment.

A hearing has been set for Nov. 14.