John Mark Karr may not have killed JonBenet Ramsey — but apparently he wishes he did. He also allegedly attempted to use a young drug addict to recruit children for abuse, all while changing both his identity and his gender.
Some impressive — and unenviable — reporting work by Diane Dimond of The Daily Beast reveals that Karr is now living as Delia Reich, most likely in Seattle. She has a Washington state drivers' license in that name, and has apparently been taking hormone treatments. New name and sex notwithstanding, Reich remains obsessed with little girls — she apparently tried to persuade nineteen-year-old former student Samantha Speigel to become a "recruiter," helping her get access to girls under six years old in order to abuse them. In emails Dimond obtained, Reich offered Speigel drugs (she had recently returned from rehab) and threatened her life to try to make her into one of "a group Reich dubbed the 'Private Protectors,' who could deal with the outside world while Reich remained cloaked in her new female persona."
Dimond's story includes a number of other super-disturbing revelations, including a message Reich once wrote to an informant in the Polly Klaas murder, stating, "When you talked about the way you thought Richard killed Polly at the end of a perfect love-making session as part of a ritual, well, I thought about how many times I wished that had happened to me." It also raises the question of whether Reich legitimately wishes to adopt female gender identity, or is simply looking for a better way to hide while she abuses more children. She is still at large, and Dimond closes her piece with the upsetting line, "she remains inexorably tied to her computer keyboard, communicating with others via the Internet."
Arthur Dunlop of Queerty writes that Reich is "giving transgender folks (and pedophiles) a bad name." But while Reich's gender reassignment may give some bigots more ammunition for their wrongheaded claims that transpeople are perverts, her crimes ultimately have little to do with gender. What matters here is that she's clearly trying very hard to sexually abuse children — and that she has emotionally abused at least one vulnerable teenager in the process. Being transgender isn't any sort of red flag for abusive behavior — but wishing you raped and murdered a child sure might be.