'Santa Claus' jailed for raping child 29 years ago

A man who raped a child 29 years ago and was arrested after a routine police background check when he applied for a job as a Santa Claus was sentenced Monday to more than three years imprisonment.

Raymond Wayne O'Brien, 51, was initially charged with raping an 11-year-old girl in the southern city of Melbourne in 1977 but he fled from Victoria state to neighboring New South Wales. He was arrested there last year after applying to work as a Santa.

Applicants for jobs dealing with children in that state must submit to police checks of their criminal records, reports AP.

O'Brien pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced in the Victoria County Court to 3 1/2 years in prison. He must serve a minimum of 18 months before he can be considered for parole.

Judge Michael Bourke said O'Brien was no longer a threat to the community, but the rape would "revolt any decent person." O'Brien had faced a potential five-year sentence.

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