Because we think you have had enough holiday cheer this month, how about some holiday fear?
For its annual Christmas parade on December 11, the local chamber of commerce in Sardis, Mississippi, chose Michael Saripkin as grand marshal, much to many citizens' chagrin. Why?
In 1990, Saripkin was convicted ofsexual battery in Tennessee. Seven years later, he was convicted of statutory rape. Then, in 2013 in Mississippi, he was convicted of touching a child inappropriately.
"I didn't like it," one man who did not want to be identified told WJTV. "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."
Many people agreed with this man's thoughts, except for Carolyn Whaley, owner of The Eclectic Emporium on Main Street.
"It doesn't bother me," Whaley, who was well aware of Saripkin's past, told KAIT. "He's a very nice, friendly man. He has donated more money, helped the fire department, helped the police department [and] encouraged businesses to come here."
Also coming to the defense of the decision is Sardis Alderman Michael Price, who was quick to to tell local TV station WMC that the city was not involved with the parade, but that it was up to the Chamber of Commerce.
"It wasn't a city event," Price said told the station. "City doesn't authorize the Christmas parade. The chamber has been handling that for years. It wasn't a city function."
Members of the Chamber of Commerce in Sardis told the station that they, too, were aware that Saripkin was a registered sex offender. However, like Whaley, they praised him for having brought business to the area and believed that his past actions should be left in the past are no longer relevant.
What do you think? Is Saripkin's time as grand marshal a heartwarming holiday tale of second chances, or is this a disgusting travesty that Santa would never put up with? Let us know in the comments below!
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