A children's entertainer is accused of sexually assaulting five young boys, with one victim being only 5 years old. According to NBC10, 43-year-old Michael Cripps of Pennsylvania dressed up as characters like Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants for kids’ parties. He is accused of molesting children between 2008 and 2017.
Delaware County District Attorney John J. Whelan said at a news conference on Monday that none of the accusations against Cripps involved appearances he booked through the company MC Parties, which advertised $65-per-hour appearances by costumed characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Elmo. The criminal charges involving the five victims did not involve his work as a children's entertainer.
Authorities believe that Cripps met his victims by befriending the mothers of the minors in question. He offered to babysit the kids, who allegedly were molested at several different addresses.
“Make no mistake, this is a very serious child predator," said Whelan. He said the investigation is just beginning ("the tip of the iceberg"), and authorities expect more victims to come forward.
When asked if he was guilty, Cripps vehemently denied the charges.
"Nope!" he told reporters on Monday.
Cripps is being held on $250,000 bail and faces more than 120 counts, including corrupting minors, indecent sexual assault of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of children and endangering child welfare, according to NBC10. Whelan says Cripps will not be released as he is on parole after serving time for a series of burglaries. He is scheduled for preliminary hearings November 8.
Previously, Cripps was arrested for sex-assault charges involving minors in 2003 and 2006. Charges were withdrawn each time.
[Photo: Delaware County DA]