A 62-year-old Assonet man who was playing the part of Santa Clause at the Hanover Mall is accused of groping an 18-year-old woman who was working as his elf.
Herbert G. Jones was arrested around 5:30 p.m. Saturday and faces charges of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, according to Plymouth District Attorney Spokesman Ross Eonas.
The company that employs the pair, Cherry Hill Photos of New Jersey, said in a statement:
"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 spokesperson for Cherry Hill Photo has informed us that a comprehensive background report had been completed on the individual portraying Santa. The report indicates that he is clear of any prior arrests or convictions."
The company told police the accuser was allegedly upset at being questioned over missing money, according to a report by the Brockton Enterprise. Another employee told police that she saw Jones reach behind the alleged victim, but "wasn't sure if he touched her."
Both women quit working for the company, saying they felt uncomfortable after the incident.
A reporter who approached Jones as he pulled out of his driveway Monday afternoon was given the middle finger, WBZ-TV reports.
A judge in Hingham District Court today ordered that Jones can't work as a Santa impersonator while he is out on $1,000 bail. He must also stay away from the Hanover Mall as well as the alleged victim.
He is due back in court on Christmas Eve, according to the Eonas.