A southeast Missouri man who has portrayed Santa Claus at events has been granted a change of venue for his trial on charges that he sexually abused a child.

The Southeast Missourian reports that 56-year-old Jeffrey Moffat of Jackson will be tried in New Madrid County rather than in Cape Girardeau County, where Moffat will continue to be jailed.

Moffat has pleaded not guilty to charges of statutory sodomy involving a person less than 14 years old.

Authorities allege Moffat molested a 7-year-old girl beginning in August 2014 at a Cape Girardeau house when he was babysitting her and her sisters.

Moffat has portrayed Santa Claus for the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway in Jackson. Moffat isn't accused of crimes while volunteering as Santa.

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