BAYTOWN, Texas (KPRC) – Residents of Baytown, Texas are fearful and outraged.
They’ve discovered that a man playing Santa Claus and inviting children to sit in his lap is a registered sex offender but there’s nothing they can do about it because it’s not against the law in Texas.
Someone snapped a photo of a man dressed as Santa. It was taken inside a Baytown fast food restaurant on Saturday.
“We received an anonymous call that morning that this person was a registered sex offender and that he was playing the role of Santa and that he had children in his lap for photographs,” said Eric Freed of the Baytown Police Department.
Turns out this Santa was 54 year old Norman Burbank. In 1998, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the sexual assault of an 11 year old boy. Investigators say the crime happened in Ohio but Burbank recently moved to Texas and worked at McDonald’s.
Officers with the Baytown Police Department arrived at the restaurant, they handcuffed Burbank and began to question him but it turns out…he wasn’t breaking the law. So they let him go.
“Him putting on a Santa Claus costume and having children sit on his lap, as unsettling as it is for parents, it’s not a violation of Texas law.”
“What’s right isn’t always legal and what’s legal isn’t always right.” Said Legal Analyst Brian Wice
Parents who live in Baytown were shocked to hear about what happened, even more shocked to hear it isn’t against the law.
“I had no idea about that. That’s very, very scary.” Said Baytown mom Savannah Housy
“Well, I’m kind of thinking they better keep an eye on Santa.”