KIDS’ PARTY PERFORMER PLEADS ‘NO CONTEST’ IN CHILD SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES
Unbelievable, Good Policing Catches Sex Offenders and Others, Sex Offender and Others Apprehended, Shame on You, Worst of The Worst, Megans Law
January 11, 2019
MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A 43-year-old Colwyn man who dressed as cartoon characters for children’s parties was sentenced to five to 10 years in a state prison Thursday after entering “no contest” pleas involving sexual misconduct with children. Michael Cripps pleaded in three different cases to two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, both felonies of the first degree, three counts of indecent assault, felonies of the third degree, and one count of indecent assault as a first-degree misdemeanor.
In addition to prison time, Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Cappelli sentenced Cripps to serve 10 years of consecutive state sexual offender probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life under Megan’s Law.
Cripps was also ordered to provide a DNA sample to state police and complete a state Sex Offenders Assessment Board evaluation under the negotiated sentence worked out by Deputy District Attorney Michael Galantino and defense counsel Michael Dugan. “Michael Cripps is a dangerous sexual predator who sought out children and preyed upon them for his own perverse, sexual gratification,” said Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland Thursday.
“While we realize no amount of prison time as dictated by the state guidelines, within which we must work, is ever enough in cases such as this, nor will any amount of incarceration undo the harm caused to the victims, Mr. Cripps is subject to lifetime Megan’s Law registration which will ensure he can never get close to a child again.” Cripps was arrested Sept. 21, 2017, after authorities followed up on a tip from a Childline referral alleging Cripps sexually abused a minor. Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division detectives interviewed a 5-year-old at the Child Advocacy Center who detailed a series of involuntary sexual contact with Cripps. Investigators then combed through other instances in which children were under Cripps’ care and identified four other victims.
Jack Whelan, the Delaware County district attorney at the time of Cripps’ arrest, previously told the Daily Times that his primary method of establishing trust in his victims was through relationships with various women.
Whelan said the single mothers would invite Cripps into their homes to stay for a period of time and that he would provide “child care” while they went to work. “He would establish a relationship with the mother and then sleep in a separate bedroom with the boys,” said Whelan. “A mother, of course, complained about that and thought it was inappropriate behavior.” One victim said Cripps would “always sleep with a boy in his bed when kids stayed overnight.” The affidavit of probable cause also alleged Cripps “would become angry” with the boys if they resisted sleeping in bed with him. One boy even got into a physical altercation with Cripps over a refused request. Whelan said the mothers who were dating or involved with Cripps were not aware of his deviant sexual relationship with their children.
Cripps lived in at least 13 different addresses between 1998 and 2012 throughout Delaware County including Darby, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne, Upper Darby and Aldan, and at least two locations in Philadelphia and Avondale. His five accusers, now in their teens or early adulthood, allege their assaults occurred between 2008 and 2012, when they were between the ages of 7 and 17. One claimed that Cripps would rape him or perform oral sex on him “just about every day” between early 2009 and 2011, from the time the victim was 13 until the age of 16. Cripps ran a costumed birthday party enterprise, M.C. Parties, in which he would masquerade as various cartoon characters to entertain children for $65 an hour. Whelan previously said investigators had not linked the business to potential victims, but said Cripps might have used parties or the internet as a way to meet vulnerable women with young boys.
Cripps’ sexual misconduct with children was first suspected in 2013, when he was charged for a string of burglaries in Upper Darby involving thefts from storage lockers. He pleaded guilty to 11 counts of criminal trespass and two counts of receiving stolen property in 2014, for which he was sentenced to three-six years in a state correctional facility. Whelan said allegations of misconduct with children at that time were thrown out due to insufficient evidence. Cripps was on probation for the burglaries when he started advertising M.C. Parties on fliers and his Facebook page, Whelan said.