“He Took the Time to Chat”: Ken Starr’s Plea for a Child Molester

“He Took the Time to Chat”: Ken Starr’s Plea for a Child MolesterS

What’s Ken Starr up to these days? According to Virginia court documents, the famously pious former Clinton prosecutor recently pleaded with a Fairfax County judge to let a confessed child molester go free. Because he’s a family friend. Here’s the letter.

It was just one of dozens of letters sent by as many Washington, D.C., and New York City power players—including former ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson, a former aide to Laura Bush, a former GOP congressman, and a powerful partner at the insider law firm Akin Gump—who wrote in praise of Christopher Kloman, a 74-year-old retired Potomac School teacher who has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting several female students under the age of 14. Kloman received a 43-year prison sentence in October.

According to the Washington Post, Kloman “estimated that he molested girls ‘less than 10 times’” from 1966 to 1985, sometimes by luring them to a isolated location under the guise of helping them with homework. One victim, the paper reported in October,

said Kloman invited her and a friend over to swim at his house after a seventh-grade field trip. [...] But once in the pool, Kloman pulled her onto his lap, pinned her arms behind her back and thrust against her, she testified. Sullivan said Kloman held her so tightly his arms were like “lobster claws.”

Another victim, Laura Gill, “testified that Kloman pinned her down and assaulted her in the basement of his home while his family was upstairs” when she was 14 years old. The rest of Kloman’s victims were the same age or younger. The youngest, who was 12 at the time Kloman molested her, sparked an investigation in 2011 when as an adult she discovered Kloman was substitute-teaching at her daughter’s Maryland grade school.

Yet Starr, a retired federal judge and former Solicitor General who single-mindedly pursued a criminal investigation into President Bill Clinton sparked by Clinton’s sexual behavior with an adult, signed a letter to Kloman's sentencing judge arguing that “community service” would be a more appropriate punishment for someone who repeatedly sexually assaulted children entrusted to him by their parents.

Because Kloman was a well-connected teacher at a proving ground to the capital’s elite—the private Potomac School in MacLean, Va.—who was liked by the parents of the children he didn’t sexually abuse, he received a bizarre outpouring of support from some extremely powerful Washingtonians, many of them begging the judge not to send Kloman to prison.

The Post reported last month that Starr and Gibson were among those supporters, but the paper only quoted Gibson’s letter briefly. Fairfax County Circuit Court recently provided Gawker access to the letters, which are published here for the first time. The reveal, among other things, that the Starrs, in a letter written by Starr’s wife Alice but signed by both, felt Kloman shouldn't go to prison despite his crimes because he “took the time to chat” with their daughter and wasn’t one of those real child molesters: “It is possible that once Mr. Kloman had children of his own in the 1970s ... he made a concerted effort to correct his behavior of the past.”

Ken Starr and his wife Alice:

Since Mr. Kloman has apparently conducted himself in an acceptable manner for more than thirty years, with no other violations, and he has cooperated with the police and accepted responsibility for his actions, we hope the Court will provide leniency in his sentence.

Mr. Kloman is currently repenting for his past sins and will continue to do so if given a chance to serve his community and neighbors. Community service would be a far better punishment than having him languish in jail.

Charlie Gibson, after listing his experience as a retired Good Morning America anchor and quoting Thoreau:

When I was hosting Good Morning America we frequently broadcast stories about forgiveness and I was amazed that some people who were victimized had reserves of forgiveness far greater than mine. Any punishment for Chris now, however, strikes me as retributive not rehabilitative, but at the same time I realize there is a need for accountability. I hope you can find a way for Chris to make amends, stay a part of his truly wonderful family, and contribute something productive and useful to society.

Former GOP Congressman James K. Coyne, III:

I know that whatever time you grant to Mr. Kloman to continue as a private citizen, that time will be for the benefit of the most needy and deserving in our community. He has always been a central part of our community and I am sure that his commitment to public service will never end. It is my hope that you will be mindful of all the good, caring, and beneficial things that Chris has done throughout his life and give this kind and generous man the chance he deserves to redeem himself at this crucial time.

Margaret Whitehead, former aide to Laura Bush:

I am reluctant to psychoanalyze Chris, but on hearing of his behavior that ceased years ago and thinking of his contributions as I have known them and outlined them here, it occurred to me that he has seemed as someone who has already been to prison, felt deep remorse, and was atoning. I do not know this for a fact and indeed it has never been mentioned to me. Rather this came to mind because his extravagantly energetic community activism has been consistently on a grand scale. Most certainly were he not in prison, he would continue to be deeply engaged in doing these good works. They seem not just an identity, but, apart from his family and at the very least, his primary interest and his reason for being.

Rounding out Kloman’s supporters are:

Andrew S. Love, Chairman, Co-CEO and a principal owner of Love Savings Holding Company

David B.H. Martin, Jr., Co-head of Covington and Burling’s Securities division

Frank J. Murphy III and Teri Gardner Murphy, Member of Board of Trustees, Randolph Macon College

Gary C. Olson, Former fiscal director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program

Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Former National Geographic editor and former President of the National Geographic Society

H. Clayton Cook, Jr., Counsel to Seward & Kissel LLP

Raymond A. Ritchey, Director of Acquisitions and Development at Boston Properties’ Washington office

Rebecca L. Roby, Senior Director of Business Affairs at Hard Rock International

William D. Hager, Former Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at NASA

Robert K. Huffman, Head of Government Contracts Practice at Akin Gump

All of the letters mentioned above are embedded below.

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<a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/8351...">(PDF)</a> <br /> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/8351...">(Text)</a>


[Reporting by Adam Dawson, Photo credit: Associated Press]

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