WESTMINSTER, Colo. – A suburban mall suspended all visits with its Santa Claus Tuesday after learning a photographer taking pictures of children on St. Nick's lap was a registered sex offender, police said.
Police contacted Jonathan Yeoman, an employee with a company that runs the Westminster Mall Santa display, after receiving a tip from Denver station KUSA-TV, Westminster police spokeswoman Stephanie Topkoff said.
"Knowing that a registered sex offender was potentially working with children at the Santa Claus display we quickly wanted to check into it," Topkoff told the station. "We don't know for sure if there has been any violation, as of right now it doesn't look like there is."
Yeoman was listed as a "lifetime notification" offender on the Indiana Sheriffs' Sex Offender Registry for a 1992 conviction of child molestation. He served six years of his 10 year sentence, according to the registry.
Topkoff told The Associated Press that Yeoman had registered as a sex offender in Jefferson County, where he now lives.
No number was listed for Yeoman, but Topkoff said he told officers that he was not breaking the law by working as a Santa photographer.
"This guy is not on parole or probation," she said. "He's served his sentence."
Topkoff said that state law does not automatically prohibit registered sex offenders from being near children. Detectives will contact Indiana authorities to determine if the courts there have prohibited Yeoman from being near children.
The mall management released a statement to KUSA saying: "The Santa set has been closed this afternoon until further notice."
No one answered the phone at the mall management office after business hours. Topkoff did not release the name of the contractor operating the display.