AP FACT CHECK: Wisconsin Santa didn't beat up child molester

AP News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2016 11:13 AM

A widely shared story about a suburban Milwaukee mall Santa Claus beating up a child molester is false.

The story claimed a young girl confided in Santa at the Southridge Mall in Greendale, Wisconsin, that she wanted "her stepdad to stop touching her at night." The story said the Santa then assaulted the girl's stepfather with the help of several elves. It also quotes a Milwaukee police spokeswoman named Holly Delgado stating that the 66-year-old man playing Santa was arrested and that the stepfather was being investigated.

Sgt. Tim Guarke, a Milwaukee police spokesman, tells The Associated Press that he has never heard of Delgado and that the mall is under the jurisdiction of another department. A spokeswoman for Southridge Mall owner Simon Properties says the story is false.

No court records could be found under the name of the mall Santa that was given in the story.

The story also includes pictures of a man in a Santa costume being handcuffed and a mug shot of a man it claimed was the stepfather. Both photos are from unrelated news events in different parts of the country.

The story was posted earlier this month on several sites, including thuglifevideos.com, dirtpost.com and goingviralposts.biz.