Man known as 'Santa' sentenced to 134 days for sex assaults on young girls
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:44PM EDT
PETERBOROUGH, Ont. - A 62-year-old man was sentenced Thursday for sexually assaulting young girls at his business, Santa's Farm.
Dave Rome, known to many as "Santa," pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two teenage girls on his farm between February and June.
Rome was sentenced to 134 days time served and 12 months of probation in Ontario Court of Justice in Peterborough.
He's also to attend counselling and sexual assault rehabilitation courses.
Crown attorney Brian Gilkinson told court that Rome grabbed one girl on the buttocks on several occasions and gave another girl a kiss on the mouth.
Rome, who has run Santa's Farm, which is located between Buckhorn and Bobcaygeon, since 1998, says he's going to have to close the business.
On its website, Santa's Farm is described as a place where you can "listen to the laughter and excited chatter of young and old children who are absolutely transfixed by their surroundings."
But Gilkinson said Rome would discuss the girls' breast sizes, make inappropriate remarks about oral sex and play "hugging" games.
Police arrested Rome on his farm June 17 after the two victims complained to a guidance counsellor.
"I'm very sorry," Rome said to Justice Robert Graydon. "When we opened up the farm we did it in the memory of my niece. We thought we were doing something good for the world."
Rome is also banned for 10 years from being in a public park or public swimming area where children under age 14 are present as well as any daycare, school ground, playground or community centre.