By now, you’ve probably heard about rockstar Kid Rock being snubbed of his role as grand marshal in the Nashville Christmas parade.
Now we are learning about a small town in Mississippi whose residents are voicing serious concern about who was picked as grand marshal of their annual Christmas parade… a three-time convicted sex offender.
The small town of Sardis, which is located in northern Mississippi roughly 53 miles from Memphis, has been hosting the annual Christmas parade for years, but this year the town’s chamber of commerce selected a three-time convicted sex offender, Michael Saripkin, as the parade’s grand marshal.
Carolyn Whaley, a resident who owns a small business along the parade’s route spoke to WMC-TV in Memphis, explaining that she didn’t have a personal issue with the town’s grand marshal selection, despite his criminal record.
Whaley told the news network, “Everybody knows that: It’s a small town. It doesn’t bother me. He’s a very nice, friendly man. He has donated more money, helped the fire department, helped the police department, encouraged businesses to come here.”
Not everyone had Whaley’s outlook on the situation.
Another man who spoke to WMC explained, “I didn’t like it. I don’t think it’s very proper for a sex offender to be a grand marshal of a parade and I just thought it was wrong.”
The network reported that Saripkin was “convicted of sexual battery in 1990 and statutory rape in 1997 — both in Tennessee.”
According to the news outlet, Saripkin’s relationship with the minor was not clear.
Western Journal reports, “Chamber members interviewed by the station said they were aware of Saripkin’s past but said it didn’t matter. What mattered, they said, is what he’s doing now. City alderman Michael Price, moreover, made it clear to the news station, that the city government had nothing to do with the decision.”
Price explained to WMC-TV, “It wasn’t a city event.”
“City doesn’t authorize the Christmas parade. The chamber has been handling that for years,” he continued. “It wasn’t a city function.”
Fox32 Chicago reported:
WMC-TV reports Michael Saripkin presided over the Sardis Christmas parade Tuesday.
Saripkin was convicted in Tennessee of sexual battery in 1990 and statutory rape in 1997. In 2013, he was convicted in Mississippi of inappropriately touching a child.
Officials with the city of Sardis and the Chamber of Commerce couldn’t be reached for comment. The Sardis Chamber of Commerce holds the parade.