Former coach sentenced to 69 years in prison for child molestation

A former Torrance High School wrestling coach who fondled students while pretending to give them skin checks, watched others while they showered and massaged others was sentenced Friday to 69 years to life in prison.

Jurors convicted 48-year-old Thomas Joseph Snider on Oct. 13 of 26 felony counts of committing a lewd act on a child of 14 or 15, three felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and eight misdemeanor counts of child molesting.

During his sentencing hearing, victims' relatives lashed out at Snider, with one mother saying she would only consider justice being served ``if I could kill him myself.''

The case involved 25 students between the ages of 13 and 16 who were inspected by Snider under the guise of checking for skin diseases, according to evidence presented at his trial. During the inspections, Snider had the teens take off their clothing and would sometimes touch their genitals, according to Deputy District Attorneys Hyunah Suh and Juree Kim.

Snider also watched students shower and massaged several of them, according to evidence presented at his trial. School officials became aware of Snider's conduct after students told opposing team members about the skin checks, the prosecutors said.

Snider was initially placed on paid administrative leave, then on unpaid leave after he was arrested in Torrance in April 2015.

``It's going to be our intent to bring forth charges for his termination based on his conviction to our Board of Education,'' a school district spokeswoman said following Snider's conviction.