Local News

Cary 'Santa' faces new charge of soliciting girl online

Posted March 14, 2012 5:13 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2012 8:12 p.m. EDT

— A 70-year-old Cary man who goes by the nickname "Santa John" surrendered to police Wednesday on new charges of soliciting a child by computer in Raleigh.

Police said John Thomas Peters, of 113 Crestpoint Court, solicited a 13-year-old girl online through Facebook in October and set up a meeting with her outside a YMCA on Wakefield Pines Drive. Warrants state that Peters intended to "commit an unlawful sex act" at the time, but police said Wednesday that the meeting was brief and there was no evidence that a sex crime took place.

Peters posted a $30,000 bond and is due back in court Thursday.

"Santa John," who is currently under house arrest for pending child sex charges in Cary, is known for portraying Santa Claus at malls and holiday events.

In January, Cary police charged Peters with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, solicitation of a child by computer or certain other electronic devices to commit an unlawful sex act and dissemination of obscene material to a minor under the age of 16 years.

According to search warrants, investigators believe Peters had inappropriate conversations with a 15-year-old girl on the Internet, sent her pornographic pictures and said he wanted to have sex with her.

As a condition of his bond, Peters is not allowed to use a computer or have any contact with children, besides supervised visits with his grandchildren.