CHICAGO - The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that it was bringing a lawsuit against Santa Claus for violations of the civil rights of children. An ACLU spokesman, Mr. E. Scrooge, stated that, "Mr. Claus has been violating children's right to privacy and has been putting that information in a vast database. The information is then used by the law enforcement arm of Mr. Claus' organization to determine which children are considered naughty or nice. It is obvious Mr. Claus has violated the children's rights, as we have alleged in our suit, because of the memos and other company information we have obtained. In addition, we believe Mr. Claus has been engaging in mind control experiments designed to prevent the free expression of beliefs."

Among the documents presented to the courts today was a memo which reads, in part:

You better watch out.
You better not cry.
You better not pout.
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you are sleeping
He knows when you're awake,
He knows when you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness' sake.

Mr. Scrooge claimed the document, was obtained from a worker in the distribution department of Mr. Claus' organization, "clearly shows a concerted attempt to restrict the rights of children to free expression and free thought. In addition, there are concerns about the security of the information. What would be the result of such a database being made available to other law enforcement agencies around the world?"

Lawyers at the Justice also confirmed today that they were investigating the possibility that Mr. Claus was at the core of a vast conspiracy against children. Anonymous sources from inside the Justice Department stated that, "We believe a large number of parents, ministers, and teachers are involved in this business, and we expect several of them will testify for the State in return for a lighter sentence." In addition, the same sources indicated a parallel investigation by the Department and the FBI on possible charges of smuggling on the part of Mr. Claus, "our records do not show Mr. Claus, or any one else, paying any import duties or taxes on any items he has delivered. Since Mr. Claus has representatives in all of the States of the Union, we believe he should have to pay state and local taxes on all of the goods he delivers."

Lawyers for Mr. Claus stated, "The charges of the ACLU are absurd. Mr. Claus is a well-known and highly-respected figure. His supporters are from around the world and his message of love and respect can, in no way, be taken as a for of "mind control" or a violation of the "civil rights of children."

The lawsuit is complicated by the fact that Mr. Claus is not a resident of the United States or any country with which the United States currently has an extradition treaty. It is unknown where Mr. Claus is at the moment, but it is believed he is hiding out at his North Pole estate.

In a brief statement, read by his lawyer, Mr. Claus said, "I find the charges of the ACLU absurd and am confident they will be rejected by the courts. As for any criminal charges, I believe the Justice Department will discover they have no basis."

Experts are uncertain what possible effect the suit or possible pending charges might have on Mr. Claus' Christmas travels this year.