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Video: Ex-fiancee: Karr wants to form child sex cult

  1. Transcript of: Ex-fiancee: Karr wants to form child sex cult

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: And now to shocking allegations against John Mark Karr , the man who falsely confessed to the murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey . NBC 's Jeff Rossen has the latest. Jeff , good morning.

    JEFF ROSSEN reporting: Hey, Meredith , good morning to you. The accusations are creepy and they come from John Mark Karr 's ex-fiancee. She says right now he's living as a woman out West trying to form a kiddie sex cult, recruiting little girls across the country. This morning, police in the West are trying to find him, but they have no clue where he is.

    Mr. JOHN MARK KARR: And I love JonBenet .

    ROSSEN: From his love of little girls to violence against them, John Mark Karr has admitted to it.

    Mr. KARR: I was with JonBenet when she died.

    ROSSEN: In 2006 , he confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey , graphic detail how he did it, why he did it. Federal agents arrested Karr in Thailand and flew

    him back to the US. But there was a problem: his DNA didn't match DNA at the crime scene. Police say he made it up, a kook hungry for attention, so they let him go.

    Mr. DAN ABRAMS: No one believes you.

    Mr. KARR: Well, you know, that doesn't really matter to me. I know what the truth is. Doesn't matter if I'm believed.

    ROSSEN: Now a stunning new accusation. What's his mission now?

    Ms. SAMANTHA SPIEGEL: His mission is to create a cult that he wants to call the Immaculates of little girls that would have sexual relationships with him and do whatever he wanted and just like be his little minions.

    ROSSEN: Samantha Spiegel , now 19, met Karr when she was just nine years old. He was a teacher's aide in her California school. After Karr 's confession in 2006 , she reached out to him and they began a relationship online. Why would you want to contact somebody like that?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: I think I was just thinking that he was misunderstood, that he was a victim of his childhood, of his family, of everybody, and that he needed to be saved in some sort of way.

    ROSSEN: And you were going to save him.

    Ms. SPIEGEL: Yeah.

    ROSSEN: He proposed to you.

    Ms. SPIEGEL: Yes.

    ROSSEN: And what did you say?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: I said yes.

    ROSSEN: That's when she says Karr dropped a bombshell.

    Ms. SPIEGEL: He typically likes five- and six-year-olds.

    ROSSEN: Asking for help with his kiddie cult. What did he tell you?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: He told me to go out there and recruit children and if I knew anybody that I could recruit, go ahead and do that.

    ROSSEN: Did you consider doing it?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm. And I started.

    ROSSEN: What did you do?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: When I was on the street, I would kind of size up children , girls . I thought about him meeting my niece or, you know, other friends that I had that had young children .

    ROSSEN: Didn't alarm bells go off in your head saying A, this is criminal and B, this is just sick?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: No.

    ROSSEN: Why not?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: I think because of the feeling of having a family and because I didn't think there was anything wrong with him having sexual relationships with children . It just seemed like it was healthy for him. You know, like why keep him from doing what he loves in some very sick way.

    ROSSEN: Do you look back at it now and say, what was I thinking ?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm. Every day.

    ROSSEN: Samantha admits she was on drugs at the time and claims Karr brainwashed her. That's when she says she went to rehab and everything changed.

    Ms. SPIEGEL: I was able to see through everything that he was telling me and that he was doing and I just -- I stood up for myself more than I had ever done before.

    ROSSEN: She says Karr became so obsessed with the cult, he sent her hundreds of messages a week. "I always get crazy when I'm falling for a girl," he wrote. When she finally told him, `I can't help you anymore.' He allegedly made death threats. "If you cost me my little girls , I will hunt you down and kill you. I only kill the girls I love the most." In April , a judge in San Francisco granted Samantha a temporary restraining order against Karr . Problem is, police can't find him. Investigators say he may be here in California , but then again, there are other reports that have him hiding out in Seattle .

    Ms. DIANE DIMOND (Syndicated Columnist and NBC News Consultant): He is propelled by an obsession to be with young girls .

    ROSSEN: Writer Diane Dimond has done extensive reporting on the case.

    Ms. DIMOND: He's crafty enough to elude police charges. They've been looking at him since 2001 . No charges, no placement on a sex registry, and he's still out there and he could prey on your children or my child.

    ROSSEN: Karr has been married several times, twice to teenage girls . Still, he's never been convicted of a crime involving children . Now, Karr reportedly wants a sex change . Today, he's living as a woman, going by the name Alexis Reich . Does it scare you that he's on the run right now?

    Ms. SPIEGEL: He can't help himself. If he's around children , he's just going to -- he's going to act upon his impulses.

    ROSSEN: Samantha told me she's speaking out today to help other potential victims out there. Police in San Francisco and Seattle , Meredith , are searching for Karr , but finding him won't be easy. He reportedly has followers who give him money and shelter. Meredith :

TODAY contributor
updated 6/2/2010 10:58:41 AM ET 2010-06-02T14:58:41

The man who once falsely confessed to the murder of child beauty contestant JonBenet Ramsey is now living as a woman and attempting to form a cult of little girls he intends to have sex with, his former fiancee said Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old Samantha Spiegel made the disturbing allegations to TODAY’s Ann Curry in New York. She said she was once engaged to John Mark Karr and, under his sway, tried to recruit girls between the ages of 4 and 8 into a sex cult.

“His mission is to create a cult that he wants to call ‘The Immaculates,’ of little girls that would have sexual relationships with him and do whatever he wanted and just, like, be his little minions,” Spiegel told NBC News’ Jeff Rossen in a report that aired on TODAY prior to her interview with Curry.

‘This cult could happen’
It’s not clear that Karr has done anything illegal, but police in California and Washington state would like to talk to him. But they can’t find him: Karr is reportedly living as a woman under the name Alexis Valoran Reich and has a group of “minions” who help him stay out of sight by providing food and money and computers.

“I think I’m a victim of his, as a teenager under the age of 18. It wasn’t that long ago,” said Spiegel, who met Karr two years ago.

She said she began to look for little girls to bring to him. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” she told Curry. “He was so persuasive. He’s very manipulative. It’s a family that he had wanted, and I didn’t want to get in the way of something he wanted.

“This cult could happen. It hasn’t happened yet,” Spiegel told Curry.

But Spiegel’s attorney, Robin Sax, told Curry that isn’t necessarily true. “Other people, we have evidence to show, are already actively engaged in this cult,” Sax said.

In 2006, Karr sparked headlines when, while living in Thailand, he confessed to the sensational murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in Colorado 10 years earlier. Prosecutors flew him back to the States to check out his story.

Video: Ex-fiancee: I thought of bringing girls to Karr Although filled with chilling details, Karr’s confession was rejected by investigators when his DNA did not match DNA taken from the scene. He was dismissed as “a kook hungry for attention.”

Colorado authorities handed him over to Sonoma County, Calif., prosecutors on 2001 charges of having child pornography on a computer. Those charges were dismissed when it was discovered that the evidence against Karr had been discarded and no longer existed.

Sax said that people who recruit others into a cult and have had child pornography on their computer are not just seeking attention, but are dangerous. She noted that he has written very explicit material that he is trying to get published.

In 2006, John Mark Karr confessed to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, but police dismissed his claims, citing DNA evidence.
Karr was last seen in public in 2008 when he was arrested on a domestic violence charge that was later dismissed in Atlanta, the city in which he grew up.

Police believe he’s living either in Seattle or in California, although a website he is said to control hints that he might be in another country. Karr/Reich was last reported to be staying in a battered women’s shelter in Seattle.

Under his spell
Spiegel told NBC News that she first met Karr when she was a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Convent of the Sacred Heart Catholic School in San Francisco and he was a teacher’s assistant. Karr left that job and Spiegel had no contact with him until two years ago, after his arrest in Atlanta.

Samantha Siegel said she first met John Mark Karr when he was a teacher’s assistant at the San Francisco school where she was in the fourth grade.
Spiegel contacted him and fell under Karr’s spell.

“I was just thinking that he was misunderstood, that he was a victim of his childhood, of his family, of everybody, and that he needed to be saved in some sort of way,” Spiegel said.

When Karr asked her to recruit little girls for his “Kiddie Cult,” she readily agreed. “When I was on the street, I would kind of size up children, girls. I thought about him meeting my niece or other friends that had young children,” Spiegel said. “I think because of the feeling of having a family, and because I didn't think there was anything wrong with him having sexual relationships with children, it just seemed like it was healthy for him, you know? Like, why keep him from doing what he loves in some very sick way?”

John Mark Karr is reportedly living as a woman, under the name Alexis Valoran Reich.
“Do you look back at it now and say, ‘What was I thinking?’ ” Rossen asked Spiegel.

“Uh-huh. Every day,” she replied.

Spiegel, who said she now understands that what Karr wants to do is wrong, said she never got to the point of actually recruiting a girl for Karr.

When she got engaged to the 46-year-old, Spiegel’s parents intervened and sent her to a rehab facility because of her drug use and her obsession with Karr, who has two previous marriages. One bride was 13 at the time of their marriage; the other was 16.

‘I will hunt you down’
Spiegel said she stayed in rehab for 18 months. When she got out, she said she contacted Karr again to help police trying to build a case against him and find him.

Video: John Mark Karr speaks She finally told him she could not help him, and Karr threatened her.

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“If you cost me my little girls, I will hunt you down and kill you,” was one message she said he sent her. Another read, “I only kill the girls I love the most.”

To protect herself, Spiegel got a restraining order against Karr in a San Francisco court in April. But police can’t find Karr to serve the order.

Spiegel said that’s because Karr’s minions look after him and he moves around a lot, sometimes staying in homeless shelters and sometimes getting rooms through Craigslist.

Spiegel said she’s coming forward because she wants to alert other impressionable girls that Karr/Reich is out there and looking for fresh prey.

“This is something I would have liked someone to do for me, when I was in his grips, but no one was there to do that,” she told Curry. “I think it’s important for people to have awareness about what a person like John is capable of.”

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