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Swedish Santa "a paedophile"

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22:58 CET+01:00
A convicted paedophile has been selected as this year's Santa in the district of Skaraborg, north east of Gothenburg.

The local community knew of the man's background, but according to Wednesday's Aftonbladet local shopkeepers have recruited him "to be kind to children in different stores" this Christmas. The decision was approved by the area's church.

Swedish Radio reported that it was the congregation's own newspaper that announced the seasonal appointment.

Two years ago the man was found guilty of molesting two 14 year old boys at church camp for children taking their confirmation. He denied the charges, but was fined.

The boys told Aftonbladet that they feel angered by the news.

"I was completely shocked when I saw the church paper," said one. "It's sick that he can be Santa and maybe sit with children on his knee. It sounds like a sick sex novel."

But the parish priest, who has responsibility for the newspaper, was more forgiving.

"We know his background," he said. "But I think that people who have served their punishment should be given an opportunity."

The boys' parents declared themselves outraged.

"I'm both sorry and surprised," the father of one of them told Aftonbladet. "It's irresponsible."

Sources: Aftonbladet, SR

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