DANBURY — A 33-year-old woman was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault Saturday after allegedly groping a man playing Santa Claus at the Danbury Fair mall.
Sandrama Lamy, 33, of Danbury, is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, according to Danbury Detective Lt. Thomas Michael.
Two messages seeking comment were left on Lamy’s answering machine.
Details leading up to the alleged fondling are sketchy.
“I don’t know what the deal was. It was just bizarre,” the mall Santa told a reporter, referring all other questions about the incident to Cherry Hill Photo, the company that runs the Danbury Fair mall Santa photo setup.
Cherry Hill Photo did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
According to information provided by the Danbury Police Department, officers were dispatched to the mall Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
The mall Santa told police that Lamy touched him inappropriately while sitting on his lap.
“The security officer at the mall said Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted,” Michael said.
Lamy was also charged with breach of peace.
“She must have caused a commotion over there,” Michael said.
Lamy was released on a promise to appear Jan. 3 in Danbury Superior Court.
Danbury Fair mall spokeswoman Melissa Eigen called the alleged groping “an isolated incident.”
“The safety of our guests and employees is a top priority, and we strive to create a safe and enjoyable shopping environment at all our facilities and Danbury Fair specifically,” Eigen said.
2007 has not been a great year for mall Santas.
Earlier this month in Missoula, Mont., a mall Santa was assaulted with a pumpkin pie.
Meanwhile, a department store Santa in Australia claims he lost his job earlier this month because he said “Ho, ho, ho.”
His bosses had asked him to say “Hi, hi, hi.”
“Santa Tim” Connaghan is the president of RealSantas.com and teaches hundreds of people a year how to be Santas.
He said the Danbury Fair mall incident, if true, is one of kind.
Santas usually have to worry about kids tugging beards and teens throwing pennies from the mall rafters.
“I have been doing this 40 years, and I’ve never heard of charges being lodged either way — by a guest against a Santa or a Santa against a guest,” Connaghan said.
It isn’t unusual for an adult to sit and pose with a picture with a mall Santa.
“I’ve had some very nice ladies sit on my lap,” Connaghan said.
A harmless flirtation isn’t out of the norm.
“Once in a while they’ll say ‘I hope Mrs. Claus isn’t going to be upset.’ You have to be discreet and kind and say ‘Oh no, she’ll be OK. You can sit here, but only for one photo.'”