A man who played Santa Claus at a local business this year is a convicted sex offender.
Tom Monroe Radcliffe, Jr., was arrested Dec. 16 by Lauderdale County sheriff's deputies, charged with failing to register, at his latest address, as a sex offender.
Radcliff played Santa Claus earlier this month at the Rentway store on North Frontage Road.
“That was the original complaint, that they believed there was an individual that was a registered sex offender playing Santa for a local business," said Calhoun. "There is not a statute or criminal statute that would cover that. However, during the course of our investigation, it was determined he was in non-compliance because he had had a change of address he had failed to register and a change of employment he had failed to register."
Radcliff was convicted in 2001 of the lustful touching of a child in Lauderdale County. His bond on the charge of not registering was set at $250,000.
Officials said Radcliff was a regular customer at the store and someone thought he was a nice guy, so when he asked to play Santa, they thought it would be a good idea.
Newscenter 11 sought comment from Rentway's corporate office.
"This goes against all company policy regarding the way we operate. We are embarrassed to learn of it, and we will reinforce our policy," said Ron Demoss, lead counsel for Rentway.
By federal law, the names of all registered sex offenders are listed by state on a Web site.
You may visit www.wtok.com for the link to the Mississippi and Alabama Sex Offender Registries. Names, photos and addresses are posted there by county of residence.