Mall Santa Busted For Groping Female Elf, 18
Massachusetts man, 62, charged with indecent assault
NOVEMBER 25--A 62-year-old mall Santa Claus was arrested Saturday after allegedly pinching the buttocks of an 18-year-old woman who worked with him as an elf photographer, police report.
Herbert Jones was arraigned this morning in a Massachusetts court on an indecent assault and battery charge. Free on $1000 bail, Jones is next due in court on Christmas Eve on the felony count. A District Court judge directed Jones, pictured in the adjacent mug shot, to stay out of the Hanover Mall, and barred him from dressing up as Santa Claus for the balance of the holiday season.
According to a Hanover Police Department report, the elf told officers that “she walked by Santa who was in his chair at which point he reached up and pinched her buttocks.” Jones and the teenager work for a company that describes itself as “providing Santa Photographic services to the mall during the holiday season.”
The teen said that after the pinching she reported the incident to her manager, who later told her that “Santa wanted to speak with her.” When she subsequently met with Jones, he began to yell at her, saying “I would never have done something like that!”
Prior to the pinching, the woman told cops, Jones told her, “I wish you were a few years older and I was younger.”
A female coworker told police that she saw Jones “reach up in the area’s of [the victim’s] behind.” The witness said that while she was “unsure if his hand actually made contact” with the victim’s buttocks, the elf later reported “that Santa ‘pinched her butt.’”
When cops approached Jones in “Santa’s changing room,” he declared, “I did not touch that girl.” Jones, who was not in his Santa costume, was then arrested and escorted to a police cruiser.
During a subsequent recorded interview, Jones “was asked about the alleged pinching that occurred at the mall today.” He explained that he was seated in his Santa chair when the teenager “walked by and brushed her buttocks against his hand.” Jones added that he then “pulled his hand away in an attempt to avoid contact.”
Asked about the reported comment “I wish you were a few years older and I was younger,” Jones claimed that he “only stated that he wished he was young again so he could make different life choices and meant nothing else by it.” The teenage elf “took the conversation out of context,” added Jones. (2 pages)