Santa accused of child pornography

Cape Town | Thursday

A 71-year-old man who played Father Christmas at a Cape Town children’s hospital last year appeared in court Wednesday on child porn charges.

Police representative Captain Rod Beer said more than 5_000 photographs depicting children as young as four in sexual acts with adults were discovered on James McNeil’s computers.

Members of the child protection unit, assisted by police technical services units, raided his home on June 7, confiscating computer materials and film footage.

McNeil, a former company director, was arrested on Tuesday and appeared in court on Wednesday.

Beer said McNeil was arrested following a complaint from a 40-year-old woman who claimed she was indecently assaulted as a child.

Investigating officer Superintendent Jan Swart said the man as yet only faced charges under the Films and Publications Act, because the period of prescription precluded prosecution based on the woman’s testimony.

The case was adjourned until next week, and the man remained in custody at Pollsmoor prison.

Beer said police were seeking assistance in identifying other possible victims.

“Because of the considerable period over which abuse is alleged to have taken place—35 years—the number of victims may be extensive,” he said. - AFP

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