NEWARK, N.J. — A small-time actor and former children’s entertainer who was known for playing Santa Claus was sentenced Monday to nearly 20 years in prison for his role in an international sex tourism ring that preyed on young children.
Wayne Nelson Corliss, whose 2008 arrest was the culmination of an international manhunt, had admitted traveling to Thailand three times between 2000 and 2002 to have sex with at least two boys, ages 6 and 9. He pleaded guilty last October to five counts that included distribution and possession of child pornography and traveling to foreign countries to engage in illegal sexual activity.
“You have acted beyond the bounds of human decency,” U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway told Corliss on Monday.
The bearded, white-haired Corliss, who is 61 and acted under the name Casey Wayne, was described by people who knew him as witty and friendly and “the best Santa Claus anyone has ever seen.” He worked as an entertainer at corporate parties, art fairs and bar mitzvahs, where his activities sometimes included painting children’s faces.