Mississippi businessman, convicted sex offender accused of fondling child

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SARDIS, Miss. (WREG) – A well-known Panola County business man with three prior sex crime convictions was arrested Monday and charged with fondling a child.

Michael Saripkin, 61, made headlines in 2018 when the Sardis Chamber of Commerce chose him to be grand marshal of its Christmas parade despite his sex offender status.

District Attorney John Champion wouldn’t confirm when or where Saripkin’s latest alleged offense took place or how old the child was.

Online, Saripkin lists himself as the owner of a contracting business called Mini Systems. Records show he owns several properties throughout Panola County.

“He got Rolls Royces and everything in that thing,” a neighbor said.

But neighbors also tell WREG Saripkin frequently has children over at his home, which features a sprawling backyard pool.

“There be kids over there swimming and stuff,” said a neighbor.

“There’s nothing wrong with children being there if their parents are with them to be over there, but I’m reasonably sure they’re not always there,” the neighbor added.

As of Thursday afternoon, Saripkin was still in the Panola County Jail. No one answered when WREG knocked at his door.

After Monday’s arrest, Champion said his office is working to have Saripkin’s probation revoked.

“They need to revoke it. They need to revoke it. People like that got no business on the street. We got enough gang members and stuff, we don’t need no child molesters and stuff like that,” said a neighbor.

You can search for sex offenders in your neighborhood online by visiting the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry: http://state.sor.dps.ms.gov/.

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