SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)

SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

SNOHOMISH — The girl and her family had been customers of SnoTown Brewery in downtown Snohomish for years.

Then one day the girl didn’t want to go there anymore.

Prosecutors allege the owner, Frank Sandoval, had been touching the girl inappropriately over the course of about a year. Sandoval was charged Thursday with second-degree child molestation, a felony.

Around the end of 2020, the defendant reportedly asked the girl’s mother if her daughter could help out at the brewery, according to charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court. The girl was under 12 at the time. She would work with Sandoval, now 48, and his son.

When the son would leave, she would be alone with the brewery owner. He would ask her to sit on his knee or kiss his cheek for pictures while they were alone, prosecutors alleged. He told her “come here” and pulled her by the waist to take the photo, according to the charges.

The touching continued every time they were alone, court papers say. Sandoval would have her sit on his knee, ask about her day and put his hand up her shirt. The girl later said she was “super uncomfortable.” She would try to lean away.

Sandoval told her she didn’t have to sit on his lap if she didn’t want to. But he would also pull her without asking, according to court documents.

“Because of this, the victim felt as if she couldn’t say or do anything to make it stop,” deputy prosecutor Bob Langbehn wrote in the charges.

He’s also accused of touching her breast and pulling on her clothes so he could see her underwear. During a costume party, he told the girl she was “way more attractive” than the grown women there, according to the charging papers.

In texts with the girl’s mother, Sandoval would ask for pictures of the preteen girl. On one occasion, he asked for a zoomed in picture of the girl in a bathing suit. He claimed he just wanted to see what kind of suit it was.

In October 2021, the girl told her mom she didn’t want to be alone with Sandoval. Crying and shaking, she told her mom what had been happening, according to court papers.

After the mom’s husband came home, the two confronted Sandoval in person. He appeared to be in shock and turned white, the charges say. Sandoval apologized and said he didn’t know what he was thinking. He told them he’d question himself when she would leave, but do it again when she came back.

In a voluntary police interview shortly after, Sandoval reported the girl had worked at the Snohomish brewery dozens of times in 2020 and 2021. He told a detective he had her sit on his lap because he was hard of hearing, according to the charges. He conceded that was inappropriate. But Sandoval denied touching her in a sexual way, while noting he’d never known the girl to make up stories.

Sandoval reportedly told police he felt terrible for hurting the girl.

Prosecutors didn’t object to Sandoval remaining out of custody. Prosecutors asked a judge to order the defendant have no contact with the girl or her family. An arraignment date hadn’t been set as of Friday.

No defense attorney was listed in the case file. He has no prior criminal history, according to court records.

A Herald reporter’s phone call to Sandoval’s business went unanswered Friday.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

For help

If you are concerned about the safety of a child, you can contact Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center at 425-789-3000, or call state Child Protective Services at the statewide End Harm line (866-363-4276). The Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse also operates a 24-hour crisis line: 425-252-4800.

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