TODAY   |  June 02, 2010

Ex-fiancee: I thought of bringing girls to Karr

Samantha Spiegel, once engaged to John Mark Karr, tells TODAY’s Ann Curry that while she was in his “grip,” she thought about seeking out young girls to start a sex cult for the man who falsely admitted to killing JonBenet Ramsey.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

ANN CURRY, anchor: More now on new disturbing accusations surrounding John Mark Karr , the man who police have called a kook hungry for attention after he falsely confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey . Well, this morning a woman who was once engaged to him claims that he is a danger to children . Samantha Spiegel says that she first met Karr 10 years ago when she was nine years old when he was a teacher's aide. She says that she reached out to Karr after seeing him on the news following the JonBenet confession. Well, Samantha now claims that Karr then gained so much power over her that in recent months he convinced her to recruit girls as young as four to join a cult he called The Immaculates . Well, police in San Francisco and Seattle are actively trying to find Karr , who they say is now living as a woman. Samantha , aka Sam , now joins us along with her attorney, Robin Sax , for an exclusive interview. Good morning to both of you.

Ms. SAMANTHA SPIEGEL (John Mark Karr's Ex-Fiancee): Good morning.

Ms. ROBIN SAX: Good morning.

CURRY: So what is your evidence, Sam , that this man is a threat to children ?

Ms. SPIEGEL: From personal experience talking with him. I mean, he's disclosed some pretty sick desires and impulses to me and I know towards other people. And that's one of the big pieces of evidence that I have. And...

CURRY: Just what he has said to you.


CURRY: Has he -- have you seen him stalk, abuse, girls -- young girls, children ?

Ms. SPIEGEL: Have I seen him? I...

CURRY: Do you have any evidence that he has done it?

Ms. SPIEGEL: I have evidence that he's been pretty obsessive towards certain people that he's had relationships with. Yes.

Ms. SAX: Yeah. And...

CURRY: And why are -- just to get this on the table...

Ms. SAX: Sure.

CURRY: ...why is it that you are now speaking out today, bringing these accusations out publicly?

Ms. SPIEGEL: Well, I think 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 and I think it's important for people to have awareness about what a person like John is capable of.

CURRY: When you say "in his grips," are you suggesting that you might have been abused?

Ms. SPIEGEL: Yes. I think I'm a victim of his and I think he...

CURRY: You mean as a child, you suspect he abused you?

Ms. SPIEGEL: As a teenager under the age of 18. So recently. I mean, I'm 19 now. But it wasn't that long ago.

CURRY: I see.

Ms. SPIEGEL: Yeah.

CURRY: So what you're trying to do is help prevent other people from being hurt as you say you were.

Ms. SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm. Yes.

CURRY: But you also acknowledge in an interview that you actually at one point helped this man. As you put it, you say that you helped recruit young girls, quote, "I would kind of size up children , girls. I thought about him meeting my niece or, you know, other friends that had young children ." Are -- did you actually bring children to him?

Ms. SPIEGEL: Not in person. It was something that I had started thinking about and looking around for, but not in person.

CURRY: How do you explain that you were thinking about it?

Ms. SPIEGEL: I mean, it was just -- it seemed like a good idea at the time , it seemed...


Ms. SPIEGEL: Because he was so persuasive. He's very manipulative. And it was a family that he had wanted, and I didn't want to get in the way of something he wanted.

CURRY: So what do we understand about these so-called Immaculates ? What is, in your view, based on everything you know...

Ms. SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm.

CURRY: ...what are you accusing him of attempting to create? In other words, does this cult -- so-called cult exist? Is it something he's trying to make happen, and for what purpose?

Ms. SPIEGEL: I think this cult could happen. He does...

CURRY: It hasn't happened yet.

Ms. SPIEGEL: It hasn't happened yet, but I was starting to make it happen.

CURRY: And you think there are others involved.

Ms. SAX: Well, it hasn't happened for you...

Ms. SPIEGEL: Yeah.

Ms. SAX: ...but other people we have evidence to show that are already actively engaged in this cult. So Sam being requested to join as a member and seek other people didn't actually come to fruition, but the other people have come to fruition.

Ms. SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm.

CURRY: I see. And for what purpose?

Ms. SPIEGEL: Essentially to have sex with young girls because that's what he wants, it's what he needs, apparently.

Ms. SAX: His writings, when you speak of the evidence in this case, really tell so much about his behavior. As a sex crimes prosecutor for many, many years, someone does not write for the desire to be with children and just merely write about it. Starting back in 2001 when we saw the evidence in Sonoma taken from his computer and all the evidence gathered there, so it's overwhelming from 2001 until now. And his own manuscript, his own writing he puts in there that he has actually submitted to literary agents to try to get published over and over again with his actual words of desire to be with children .

CURRY: Well, that brings up a question because, you know -- you know, as I mentioned earlier, police have called him a kook seeking him attention , so how do we know that these accusations are not part of an effort to give him the attention that he failed to really get to fruition with his statement that he was actually the person who was responsible for JonBenet Ramsey 's disappearance?

Ms. SPIEGEL: I think that's a good question that people raise. I think, though, it is wrong to assume that I am the type of person that would be willing to give him attention for the sake of getting attention . I'm not interested in that. I am interested in my own well-being and the well-being of others. And I think this time around, compared to 2006 , the media is necessary to bring in. I think this attention is frightening him, I think it's going to smoke him out. So I think -- I think it's needed.

CURRY: Well, it sounds as though you're really attempting to get publicity about this even at risk, as you have said...

Ms. SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm.

CURRY: ...earlier, to your -- you -- because you fear...


CURRY: You have a restraining order against him, so.

Ms. SPIEGEL: Yes. And he's gotten away with far too much.

Ms. SAX: And someone seeking attention doesn't do it just, you know, in terms of seeking out little kids, putting people in danger and actively pursuing kids and having child pornography on their computer.

CURRY: Well, Samantha Spiegel and Robin Sax , thank you so much . We want to sort of reiterate that police in San Francisco and in Seattle , the Seattle area, are looking for this man. Thanks so much for your -- for your time.