Sex offender playing Santa arrested in Lee’s Summit

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A sex offender impersonating Santa Claus was arrested Thursday -- not for playing Santa, but for failing to register as a sex offender.

A detective for the Jackson County Sheriff’s office received a tip that a known sex offender was working as a local Santa impersonator. The offender, 50-year-old California native James R. Gray. He was convicted in the 90s of several sex-related charges, including child molestation and indecent exposure.

Although it is not illegal to play Santa, Gray was arrested and charged with failure to register as a sex offender for not reporting his employment as lawfully required.

“Anyone that poses as Santa Claus, who has committed sex crimes against children, is a serious concern”, Sheriff Mike Sharp said. “In Gray’s case, as all others, there is zero tolerance when not reporting information as required.”

Sharp said to his knowledge Gray did not have any contact with children, but stated the situation is still very concerning.

"We always are worried about things like this," he said. "We worry about these things 365 days out of the year."

Gray’s bond has been set at $20,000 cash. His court date is unknown at this time. However, he will appear in Division 301 of Jackson County, Mo., Municipal Court.


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