Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A 62-year-old Santa Claus at the Hanover Mall in Massachusetts is facing indecent assault and battery charges after he allegedly gave the 18-year-old working with him as his elf photographer a gift she was not very fond of.
Herbert Jones was arrested on Saturday after a complaint was brought by the young woman. The alleged victim and Jones are employed by Cherry Hill Photo, which provides Santa photography for multiple malls.
"We have been made aware that an allegation of improper conduct has been lodged again the person portraying Santa at Hanover Mall by another employee working at the Santa photography concession," Cherry Hill Photo said in a statement. “This allegation has been denied by the individual portraying Santa."
According to a police report, the young woman claims Jones pinched her buttocks and told her that he wished "you were a few years older and I was younger." The young woman says he denied this when she complained to her manager.
Another employee told police she saw Jones reach behind the young woman but wasn't sure if he touched her. Both women said they were uncomfortable around Jones, and reportedly quit their jobs at the photography company over the incident.
Their manager told police, however, that the woman who reported the alleged assault was upset because she had been questioned earlier about money missing from the photo booth.
A spokesperson for Cherry Hill Photo said that a background report indicated that Jones was clear of prior arrests or convictions before being hired to portray Santa.
While he is out on bail, Jones cannot work as a Santa. He is due back in court on Christmas Eve.
[Boston Herald] [Patriot Ledger]