Changes made to Santa letter-writing program due to Sex-Offender - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Changes made to Santa letter-writing program due to Sex-Offender

Associated Press - December 20, 2008 6:23 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) - A sex offender has led to changes in the Postal Service's Operation Santa program.

For decades, many children's letters to Santa have been answered by volunteers walking into post offices around the country and responding to kids' wishes. Most send gifts, and some even deliver them in person.

But those face-to-face encounters are over after a sex offender was spotted this week among the volunteers. A postal inspector intervened before the individual could answer a child's letter, but officials decided changes had to be made. That led to a brief suspension of the program.

But Operation Santa resumed today in New York and Chicago.

Now, postal workers block out any personal information from "Dear Santa" letters and substitute codes that match addresses known only to the post office. Gifts can then be mailed.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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