Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The JonBenet Hoax: The Important Part

Several irate e-mails responding to the Shadowland column on the over-coverage of claims by a creep named John Mark Karr that he murdered six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 insisted that the story was more than prurient entertainment, it was a warning to parents and others who wanted to protect their children from sexual predators.

Point taken. I stand by my criticism of the coverage, but the detention of Karr ultimately appears to have been a very good thing. The headlines yesterday were, of course, about the Boulder, CO, district attorney's motion to quash the arrest warrant against Karr because his DNA did not match that found in JonBenet's underwear. Those voyeuristic news readers and opportunistic news media who were hoping for months of trials and psychodrama centered on the case must surely be disappointed.

Yet the actual text of the motion to quash shows that the events surrounding Karr's detention in Thailand and eventual arrest in the United States, where he still faces child pornography charges, almost certainly saved other children from abuse.

Points 14 and 15 are especially chilling, given Karr's lurid descriptions of JonBenet's imagined death in the e-mails he had sent under the pseudonym "Daxis" to Prof. Michael Tracey:

"14. It was apparent from Daxis' emails, his manuscript, and from his phone conversations (1) that he believed his narrative of his responsibility for the death of JonBenet and (2) he believed his narrative about the sexuality of young girls and his ability to have a loving relationship with young girls, similar to the one he believed he had had with JonBenet Ramsey.

"15. After the death of Mrs. Ramsey [earlier this year], Daxis became more intense about his desire to publish his explanations about himself and his responsibility for the death of JonBenet, but to also keep his identity secret. He also began to express sexual interest in specific young girls he said he had met in the new school at which he had recently been hired and at which he was to teach when school began in mid-August. He began to describe his interest in several girls in much the same terms that he had described his interest in JonBenet Ramsey."

- C.D.

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