Santa faces child sex assault allegation

A shopping-centre Santa Claus has been arrested south of Adelaide, charged with the alleged indecent assault of a child.

Police arrested the 75-year-old man on Tuesday following an incident at Southgate Plaza Shopping Centre at Morphett Vale, in Adelaide's south.

The child's mother was present when the alleged assault occurred.

The man has been bailed to appear before the Christies Beach Magistrates Court in January.

His bail conditions prevent him having contact with children.

Superintendent Graeme Adcock urged parents not to overreact.

"I think an important aspect of this is [that] it does touch on a very long standing and innocent relationship between Father Christmas and a child," he said.

"There are many people who perform a role as Father Christmas as a community service and we don't want to taint that particular relationship and their role."

He urged parents to continue taking their children to visit Santa.

However, police have provided details of the man's work history as Santa Claus.

He worked at Southgate Plaza as Santa in the afternoon on December 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 13, 17 and 18. He also worked at Wilfred Taylor Reserve, Morphett Vale on December 1 and Kalara Reserve on December 15.

"He was employed by a contractor external to Southgate Plaza Shopping Centre," a police spokesperson said.

A spokesman for Jones Lang Lasalle, which manages Southgate Plaza Shopping Centre said the allegation was serious.

 A 75-year-old man has been bailed to reappear in court in January. Photo: Getty

A 75-year-old man has been bailed to reappear in court in January. Photo: Getty

"At this stage, we can't comment because it's under police investigation," he said.

"The allegation is serious and we are certainly taking it seriously."