Monday, March 23, 2015

Sex offender hired as Easter bunny at mall

Sex offender hired as Easter bunny at mall

Story by Marcie Cipriani/WTAE

GREENSBURG, Pa. (WTAE) -- Parents want answers after learning a registered sex offender worked as the Easter Bunny at a mall in Pittsburgh.

The Westmoreland Mall fired Michael Paul Jacobs after three days on the job.

Jacobs is now speaking out.

"I can understand, you know, where they're coming from, about them being upset.  But what a lot of people need to realize is, you know, I wasn't put in jail for touching little kids," said Jacobs.  "My case, it revolved around having consensual sex when I was a teenager myself, with another teenager."

WTAE-TV learned Jacobs has convictions in two different cases of having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19, one as a Megan's Law Violent Child Sex Offender.  To be clear, an adult having sex with a minor is a crime, no matter how you slice it.

"Because I'm on Megan's Law, everybody looks at me different, and this is where I have trouble getting a job.  And just, I didn't touch no kids or anything like that," said Jacobs.

The man said he never hid his convictions when he applied for the Easter Bunny job.  It just never came up.

"They didn't ask for my background on the application that I filled out.  It didn't say anything about a criminal background," said Jacobs.

A spokesperson for the Westmoreland Mall said Cherry Hill Photo Enterprise leases space at the mall to take Easter pictures.

"It's regrettable that one of their local employees failed to follow their stringent background screening procedures," wrote the mall in a statement.