Jackson County authorities arrest registered sex offender working as Santa Claus

James R. Gray
James R. Gray

Jackson County authorities have arrested a registered sex offender who had been portraying Santa Claus.

A detective with the Jackson County sheriff’s office received confidential information that a known sex offender was working as a Santa, said Sheriff Mike Sharp. The offender, identified as James R. Gray, 50, of Lee’s Summit, was contacted and the report was confirmed.

Although it is not illegal to portray Santa Claus, Sharp said, authorities arrested Gray and charged him with failure to register as a sex offender for not reporting his employment as required.

“He failed to register his new job and that put him in violation,” Sharp said.

Sharp said Gray had been working at a “home decor-type store” in the Kansas City area but wasn’t sure where or how long he had been working as a Santa.

“He had no real contact with children as far as we know,” Sharp said. “But if anyone recognizes this individual and believes he’s had contact with children, we’d like to know about it.”

Authorities took Gray to the Jackson County Detention Center on Wednesday. Bond has been set at $20,000, cash only.

Gray had been convicted in California on indecent exposure charges in the 1990s, Sharp said.

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to