PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Police have charged a Pawtucket man — who legally changed his given name to Santa Claus — with domestic assault, after an incident last week where he’s accused of choking his wife.
Santa Claus Almeida, 83, was arrested Sunday and charged with domestic assault by strangulation and domestic disorderly conduct.
Police say a family member had brought the victim to the police department on Saturday and told officers Almeida had assaulted and struck her several times, that he yelled and cursed at her, and that he punched her shoulder, whereupon she fell to the ground. Then, he allegedly put his arm over her neck, making it difficult for her to breathe. Almeida eventually let her go, but continued to yell at the woman.
The woman did not have injuries that warranted medical attention.
Almeida faced a judge Monday at Sixth District Court, where he was told to stay away from the woman, according to the Rhode Island Judiciary’s website. Police said Almeida’s personal recognizance was set at $20,000. He’s due back in court May 4.
According to the Pawtucket Times, Almeida impersonated Saint Nicholas in the past, and was a highway foreman and city employee. He also served as a U.S. Marine during the Korean War, and donated to shelters for battered women and programs for abused children. A 1996 article from the Associated Press said Almeida had changed his name from Virgil.