Southeast Missourian A 7-year-old girl testified against a man known to many area children as Santa Claus during his preliminary hearing Tuesday on sexual-abuse charges. 55-year old Jeffrey Moffat of Jackson initially faced charges of first-degree statutory sodomy and first-degree statutory rape. Cape Girardeau County Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp dropped the statutory rape charge but found probable cause to go forward with the sodomy charge. The girl said the abuse began in August 2014, when Moffat was babysitting her and her sisters at the girls’ home, and happened “a bunch” in the following the months. The family moved over the summer, and about two weeks later, the girl told her grandmother Moffat “did something bad.” Her grandmother immediately called the girls’ parents. The girl said Moffat would take naps with her and one of her sisters, and he molested her. The girl said he also molested her at his house. The mother also testified, saying Moffat babysat the children about once every two months at her house. The girls sometimes would ask to visit Moffat at his house. The mother says he was a family friend and there hadn’t been signs of trouble in the past. Moffat volunteered with the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway and portrayed Santa Claus for almost 20 years. The railway’s president, Cheryl Huffman, has estimated 1,100 children visited Santa at the railway last year. Huffman said she doesn’t believe Moffat would be capable of what he is accused. Moffat’s next court date is set for Monday.