Crime

Sex Offender Caught Working As Petco Santa Claus

| by John Freund

A convicted child sex offender is accused of working at a Virginia pet store as Santa Claus, interacting with families and children there.

CBS News reports that 37-year-old Leonard Russell Kidd of Max Meadows, Virginia, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy in 2002. He was released from prison in 2015 on the condition that he stay away from events where children would be present. 

Kidd’s probation officer, Mike Montgomery, is the only one who could give Kidd permission to attend an event with children, and claims he did not know about Kidd’s plan to dress up as Santa. 

According to the Roanoke Times, Kidd was granted a job as a Santa Claus at a Roanoke Petco, where he sat for hours with small children and their pets.  

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Petco spokeswoman Lisa Stark said, “We are looking into the situation and are committed to taking appropriate action, if necessary, based on what we discover. We can confirm that the individual in question is no longer at Petco and we are cooperating with local law enforcement.”

At a 2009 hearing on Kidd’s offenses, Dr. Doris Nevin, a Roanoke-based psychologist, said that on one test, Kidd’s scores ranked him “in a group of sex offenders who demonstrated a 100 percent probability of violent recidivism within seven years.”

Sources: CBS News, Roanoke Times / Photo credit: WCYB

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