Herbert Jones, 62, was hired to play Santa Claus at a mall in Hanover, Mass. during the holiday season, but now finds himself possibly facing a jail sentence.
According to a police report, Jones pinched the buttocks of an 18-year-old woman, who was playing the part of an elf photographer, last Saturday.
The elf told police officers that “she walked by Santa who was in his chair at which point he reached up and pinched her buttocks.”
The elf reported the alleged pinching to her manager, who later told her to speak to Santa about it, noted The Smoking Gun.
The elf met with Jones, who yelled, "I would never have done something like that!"
However, prior to the reported pinching, the 18 year old claimed Jones said to her, "I wish you were a few years older and I was younger.”
An unidentified female co-worker claims to have seen Jones “reach up in the area’s of [the victim’s] behind,” but wasn't sure if he actually made contact.
When the police arrived to question Jones, he stated, “I did not touch that girl.” He was arrested and charged with indecent assault and battery.
Jones is now free on an $1,000 bail, but in a cruel twist of fate must return to court on Christmas Eve.
According to the police report, Jones claimed he was seated in his Santa chair when the elf “walked by and brushed her buttocks against his hand.” Jones claimed that he “pulled his hand away in an attempt to avoid contact.”
When asked about the "younger" comment, Jones said he “only stated that he wished he was young again so he could make different life choices and meant nothing else by it.”
Cherry Hill Photo, which employed Jones, released a statement today:
We have been made aware that an allegation of improper conduct has been lodged against the person portraying Santa at Hanover Mall by another employee working at the Santa photography concession. This allegation has been denied by the individual portraying Santa.
A Cherry Hill Photo spokesperson told CBS Boston that a background report was completed Jones, who did not have any prior arrests or convictions.