© Cape Giradeau County Sheriff
A Jackson man is facing charges after allegedly sexually assaulting a child.
Jeffery B. Moffat, 55, has been charged with first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy involving a 7-year-old.
Moffat allegedly "knowingly had sexual intercourse" and "deviate sexual intercourse" with the girl, according to the complaint filed in the case. The incidents are alleged to have taken place between Aug. 1, 2014, and Jan. 31, 2015, in Cape Girardeau County.
St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway president Cheryl Huffman said Moffat has volunteered at the railway and portrayed its Santa Claus for almost 20 years.
Huffman said, however, she doesn't believe Moffat would be capable of what he is accused.
"I've known Jeffrey for 25 years, and I just don't believe that a person could snap and change overnight," she said. "He's just such a giving, kind person." She described him as a kind of "Southern gentleman."
Huffman said the train's Santa runs begin the first weekend after Thanksgiving and estimates 1,100 children visited Santa at the railway last year.
"And our reservations are full on [the] Santa trains," Huffman said.
Huffman said the incidents with the girl are alleged to have happened at Moffat's home. But, she said, he had lived in Fruitland with several other people and had often told her how busy the house was. She said she didn't know when Moffat would have had the opportunity to commit the crimes he is accused of while so many people were at the house.