Bad Santa: Sex offender accused of dressing up as Mr. Claus for Christmas parties

Craigslist ad showed 'Santa Bob' with child on lap, deputies say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A convicted sex offender accused of dressing up as a for-hire Santa had a picture on his Craigslist ad showing him with a child on his lap, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said they received an anonymous tip that Robert Bruce Kendel, 48, was dressing up as St. Nick for Christmas parties and events. Kendel in 1993 was convicted of sexual battery on a child under 12 years old, records show.

A detective found Kendel's Craigslist ad, which had three pictures of him dressed as Santa. In one of the pictures, a child was sitting on his lap, according to the report

Deputies said they posed as someone interested in hiring Kendel for an event and contacted him via the phone number on the Craigslist ad. Kendel agreed to pose as Santa during an event at an Orlando park for an $80 fee, according to the affidavit. Deputies said Kendel provided a receipt, which was signed "Santa Bob."

Kendel arrived at the staged event dressed in red pants and coat with a white trim, a red and white Santa hat, a fake beard and black boots, records show. He was arrested while taking group photos.

When questioned about the requirements of his sex offender registration, Kendel claimed he didn't know how to register his online accounts, the report said.

He was arrested Tuesday on a charge of sex offender violation.


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