Registered Sex Offender Allegedly Worked as Santa Claus for Children

Virginia State Police
Virginia State Police

A convicted violent sex offender was allegedly caught working as Santa Claus in Virginia at a Petco Christmas event where children were present.

Leonard Kidd, 37, was hired by the Petco store in Wytheville, where he played Santa Claus during the weekend, WBDJ reported.

Kidd pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery in 2002 for assaulting a six-year-old boy and was just released from prison last year under the condition that he stay away from events where children would be present, the Roanoke Times reports.

WBDJ reports that Kidd posed for pictures with children and pets at the event.

Kidd renewed his sex offender registration in October, and lists the Wytheville Petco as his employment, according to the Virginia State Police website.

A spokesperson for Petco said they take the safety of their customers seriously, and they are cooperating with authorities.

“We can confirm that the individual in question is no longer at Petco and we are cooperating with local law enforcement,” the spokesperson says.

Following his conviction in 2002, Kidd was sentenced to six years in prison and was scheduled for release in 2009.

A clinical psychologist who evaluated him, however, states that he had a “high risk to offend” and scored on a test that put him “in a group of sex offenders who demonstrated a 100 percent probability of violent recidivism within seven years,” Southwest Virginia Today reported.

Under the state’s Violent Predators Act, which had just gone into effect a few years before his sentence ended, Kidd was involuntarily confined beyond his sentence at a state treatment facility for sex offenders until 2015.

The Virginia State Department of Corrections is investigating the incident.