A 19-year-old girl is working the media circuit claiming that Jon Benet murder suspect John Mark Karr had a sex change operation and now leads a sex cult dedicated to diddling five-year-old girls called "The Immaculates."
Child bride-to-be Samantha Spiegel met John David Karr 10 years ago, when she was nine and he was a teaching assistant at her school, reports The Daily Beast's Diane Dimond. "All the kids were in love with Mr. Karr." In 2006, Karr falsely confessed to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey, the child beauty pageant contestant who was killed in 1996 when she was six. Karr reveled in the attention and his extradition from Thailand (where he was then living) turned into a media circus; he continues to maintain he killed Jon Benet, even though DNA evidence later cleared him and he was never charged with her death.
In 2008, Samantha found John online and started a relationship with him. When he later proposed, she said yes. Here she is telling The Today Show about him:
Samantha says John asked her to procure girls between the ages of four and eight as he assembled a "kiddie cult" dedicated to sex. "It just seemed like it was healthy for him," she now explains. "Like, why keep him from doing what he loves in some very sick way?" So she hatched a plan to lure her niece into the fold. Until, that is, Samantha's parents sent her to rehab. She kicked an unnamed drug habit, came home, and started a media campaign to out her former fiance.
Samantha refers to Karr as "he," even though he legally changed his name and gender two years ago (around the time they began their relationship) and has a Washington State driver's license under the name Delia Alexis Reich, as a female. Today questions whether the name change is a ruse to stay in hiding and facilitate the rape of little girls.
Writing about this story is a mess. Every point of reference is shaky, right down to Karr's name and the pronouns to use when discussing Karr. "She" is appropriate for transgender people, but Samantha was with Delia/John/Karr/Reich after the legal gender change, but she still says "he." The Daily Beast alternates between masculine and feminine pronouns, and uses the name "Karr/Reich." Queerty and Jezebel both point how much this case sucks for the transgender community. But whereas Jezebel favors the chosen gender and name (Delia, female), Queerty sticks to the one that made him famous (John, male).
Most shaky of all, however, is Samantha Spiegel. Since she, too, is a Karr victim nobody wants to impugn her—but how reliable is a woman who sought out a beloved pedophile from her childhood and facilitated his crimes into adulthood? Having fallen under Karr's control as a teen, Samantha says she "was a recruit, not only a recruiter" for Karr's cult. Though poised on Today, she was a drug addict and is pretty clearly messed up. Karr's cult, she said, "seemed like a good idea at the time." As in, when she was 19, before her family forced her into rehab.
Karr seems terrible enough to be planning a kid sex cult—but he also seemed terrible enough to have killed Jon Benet, and he didn't do that. His correspondence with The Daily Beast's Diane Dimond is a festival of skin-crawling creepiness. ("Do good for little boys and little girls, Ms. Dimond," he says, maintaining that he is Jon Benet's killer. "We're on the same team.") Samantha apparently showed Dimond emails Karr sent to her about wanting to "taste young sex again." But has he really done it? Or has he constructed an world of shifting identities and false narratives, assailing impressionable people with elaborate fantasies and half-truths. And some of those impressionable people are us: We're so horrified by this man, we instinctively assume that every horrible thing he tells us is true. (Is this instinct precautionary or knee jerk?)
Authorities are searching for John David Karr (or Delia Alexis Reich, or Alexis Valoran Reich) again. He may be in Seattle, or California, or somewhere else. If and when they find him (or her) it'll probably be another headline-grabbing freakshow, just like it was when they arrested him the first time, in 2006.
Is ex-Jon Benet suspect starting a child sex cult? [Today]
Horrifying 'Little Girl Sex Cult' [Daily Beast]
Jon Benet's Confessed 'Killer' Now a Woman, Definitely Still a Pedophile [Jezebel]
Is Fake Jon Benet Killer John Mark Karr Changing His Gender to Get Close with Little Girls? [Queerty]