Local/State

Santa impersonator surrenders, heads to prison

Friday, October 05, 2012

A Santa impersonator surrendered to authorities Friday and will go to prison for child sex charges.

Seventy-year-old John Peters, who is also known as "Santa John," pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and soliciting a child by computer last week. He was given until Friday to turn himself in.

Peters must serve 20 months in prison, and the court recommended he receive sex offender treatment while in jail. He must also register as sex offender once released from prison.

Police said Peters tried to arrange a nude photo shoot with a 15-year-old girl. In January, he was caught at an Apex McDonald's, which is where he planned to meet the girl.

In March, a second alleged victim came forward and said Peters solicited her at a YMCA in Wakefield.

"This is a man who has never been in trouble with the law. He's in the custody of the sheriff department right now, and hopefully he'll make it through just fine and can put all of this behind him," Peters' attorney, Roger Smith Jr. said.

Peters played a Santa impersonator at local corporate events. He also drove a red car with the license plate "Santa Car."

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wake county, sex offense, local/state
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