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Anthony Katsaris stands beside his sister, Maria Katsaris in Jonestown just before that fateful November 18th 1978 date that would claim the lives of 918 people. (San Francisco Examiner / UPI / Photography Designed by John Mark Karr)

The Murderous Sex Cult of John Mark Karr

In 2007, I was investigated by the FBI for planning to organise a sex cult involving teenage girls. A computer containing the alleged plan was seized by the FBI. In 2010, nineteen year old Samantha Spiegel interviewed with mainstream media for two months wherein she said I was the leader of a sex cult. Her account was filled with stories of the sexual abuse of little girls and a death squad that would kill on my command.

(JMK) 06/07/24 - On November 18th 1978, in Guyana South America, Jim Jones led 909 members of The People's Temple in the largest mass suicide in history. Nine others perished that day at the hands of Jones' loyal death squad. Hanging above Jones' pulpit in the pavilion where the deadly suicides took place was a plaque that read, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Prior to the mass suicide, Anthony Katsaris traveled to Jonestown with Congressman Leo Ryan to persuade his sister, Maria Katsaris, to return with him to Potter Valley California. In the photo, Anthony just looks thankful and happy to be standing next to his sister. His face speaks volumes of his adoration and love for a sister it seems he'd love to hold and never release. Maria, on the other hand, has a far away look on her face of utter obstination.

Though the source of this photo did not credit him, it was likely taken by San Francisco Examiner photographer, Greg Robinson, who was killed by Jones' death squad at the Port Kaituma airstrip. Anthony Katsaris was badly wounded on the airstrip alongside Congressman Leo Ryan and others who were killed.

On April 17th 1978, in a radio transmission from Jonestown to address concerned relatives in America, Maria Katsaris tells her father that he raped her, starting from childhood. She vows she will never leave Jonestown and return to the US. Her full statement follows in the player below.

Maria Katsaris was one of Jim Jones' closest assistants. She held one of the top leadership positions in the organisation. In news articles, she is disrespectfully referred to as one of Jim Jones' mistresses. Some believe Katsaris was the last to die in Jonestown - shooting Jim Jones before killing herself; however, there is no definite evidence of just who killed Jones.

In the middle of the mass suicide, Maria handed off a suitcase filled with cash to Mike Prokes, Tim Carter and his brother Mike Carter. The three men were armed with handguns and were instructed by Katsaris to deliver the cash to the Russian Embassy in Georgetown. In a 1978 interview with the Carter brothers while still in Guyana, Mike Carter said that authorities reported to the press that there was half a million dollars in the suitcase. In that same interview, Tim Carter said they had no idea how much money was in the suitcase because they weren't informed of the amount and certainly didn't count it. In subsequent interviews, many years later, Tim Carter said the amount of money in the suitcase was a million and a half dollars. In the 1978 interview, Tim Carter and Mike Carter said that the men had transferred the cash into a bag and left it in a chicken house. They both reported that they ran for their lives from Jonestown and were picked up by Guyanese authorities hours later and taken to police headquarters where they were placed under protective custody for a time but not under arrest. The fate of the cash was never disclosed.

Maria Katsaris
On April 17th 1978, in a radio transmission from Jonestown to address concerned relatives in America, Maria Katsaris tells her father that he raped her, starting from childhood. She vows she will never leave Jonestown and return to the US. (San Francisco Examiner / Photo Designed by JMK)

I'm not sure if I've ever had any person in my life as loyal as Maria Katsaris was to her leader, Jim Jones. I think anyone would be lucky to have a loyal right hand like Maria was to Jones. No time in her life did Katsaris ever deceive Jones. She was loyal to her leader until the bitter end. She carried out financial missions involving half a million dollars or more on the final day, knowing she would be dead before the day was done. She was likely with Jim Jones when he died. If she shot Jones in the end, it would have been at his request. She would have yet again been carrying out the final wishes of her leader. But loyalty is not goodness, especially in this case. Maria Katsaris had a darkness within her. Her leader was evil. As one of his closest, Maria was evil as well.

Maria Katsaris died on the night of November 18th, 1978 in Jim Jones' cabin by self-administered cyanide poisoning. If only she had returned to Potter Valley California with her brother who traveled to Jonestown to bring her home. On that dark November day in 1978, I wish Anthony would have embraced his lovely sister, Maria, and never let her go.

As for my views of Jim Jones and the members of his congregation, I do not adhere to the popular consensus that there was a massacre filled with nothing but innocent victims. That is not to say that I am not very sorry that the suicides and the murder of children occurred at all. I have wept over their great loss. However, I do not hold Jim Jones solely responsible for the deaths of 909 of his members any more than I hold Adolph Hitler solely responsible for the wicked deeds of his entire organisation. Just as Hitler had officers who carried out plans that some of them designed themselves, so also did Jones have his officers who implemented and carried out their missions. Maria Katsaris was one such officer. Her rank was that of Hitler's Himmler. She was not a soldier. Those who emerged from a tractor trailer on the Port Kaituma airstrip to kill the congressman and defecting members were Jones' soldiers.

I tend to hold members of The People's Temple more responsible, not only on that fateful day in November 1978, but as the group progressed through the years. It has been widely reported for decades that Jones massacred his flock, but what about some, if not many, of the parents who murdered their own children? I agree that some were likely forced to do so, but what of the other parents who willfully killed their children in the name of their strong religious convictions? I have much more respect for the families who defected on November 18th. They at least made an effort to escape with their children. Though one mom, Patricia Parks, died in that escape effort, her children survived. One hundred ninety children, aged 12 and under, died in Jonestown. I have grieved their loss ever since.

Jonestown Suicides
In this November 18th 1978 recording, Jim Jones leads 909 members of his congregation in the largest mass suicide in history. (San Francisco Examiner / The Life & Death of Peoples Temple / JMK)

It seems I'm from a long line of leaders and organisers of religious groups in foreign lands. My father was a missionary preacher in Jamaica in the late 50's. He did some preaching at the church he attended as a child. He did radio sermons in Atlanta. His first wife was the daughter of a preacher. His second wife, my mother, was also the daughter of a preacher. My mother's father was a church pastor on several occasions in the United States. Her father was a missionary evangelist in Guatemala, Central America in the 1970's. My mother was a missionary with a young preacher as a teenager in the mid 50's on the U.S. west coast that included the states of California and Oregon. After they married in 1958, my mother returned on several occasions to my father's previous missionary work in Jamaica. My mother and father were both Pentecostal preachers during their marriage from 1958 to 1969. I do admit that, with such a religiously rooted set of parents and grandfather, there was an influence in my life to possibly pursue a similar path.

In 2007, I was investigated by the FBI for planning to organise a sex cult involving teenage girls. A computer, belonging to a person in the state of Louisiana, containing the alleged plan, was seized by the FBI. Supposedly, there was a series of communications between a person alleged to be me and another person about the creation of a sex cult with a theme of moms and their teenage daughters. The FBI held the computer for several days. It was later returned to its owner with insufficient evidence to charge me with a crime. I was informed about the FBI investigation from start to finish by a source who knew the Louisiana computer owner. I was never approached by the FBI personally. Read Lei Sussurra's article, Karr Contemplates Creation of Cult.

In 2010, nineteen year old Samantha Spiegel, who lived in the Marina District of San Francisco, interviewed with mainstream media for two months saying that I was the leader of a sex cult called The Immaculates. Her account was filled with stories of the sexual abuse of little girls and a death squad that would kill on my command. The San Francisco Police, along with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, were part of the investigation. If the FBI was involved in 2010, I wouldn't know about it but would not be surprised if they were involved. Read more about the events of 2010 in Lei Sussurra's article, The Immaculates.

Spiegel claimed to be one of my past students though she was in a totally different grade from the one I worked with in San Francisco. She told one lie after another about me from saying that I led a cult of JonBenet Ramsey look alike little girls to saying that I asked her to walk the streets of San Francisco at night seeking little girls to abduct for my sexual pleasure or for the cause of my cult. JonBenet Ramsey look alikes, indeed. I am not nor have I ever been obsessed with any one little girl from my past. The media gave her center stage to dismantle me.

Fox News reported that there was a criminal warrant out for my arrest. Believing this ‘news’, I flew from Paris to America to face up to these charges. Fox News retracted their statement after I arrived in America. Quite simply, there never was a warrant. The District Attorney's office in San Francisco, headed at that time by now Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, made an official statement that they never had plans to issue a warrant for my arrest. Instead, I was served with a restraining order to stay away from Spiegel which was totally ridiculous as I had to fly from Europe to be served with an order to stay away from a person in another continent. I returned to Paris in a week’s time of arriving back in America. My regrets for returning to America at all are numerous. I took risks and I suffered for the week and a half I was there.

As late as 2017, a reporter asked me if I still led a cult. I responded, "After seven years, you're still asking me that? Unbelievable!" If my answer to the reporter's question had been affirmative, the story according to Spiegel in 2010 would have been a gross misrepresentation of the real thing. Her foolish notion that I would organise a cult with JonBenet Ramsey look alike little girls is a total insult. Her accusation that I sent her out in the middle of the night seeking out little girls for my murderous sex cult is totally stupid. San Francisco, of all places, would never be the site of any such nonsense, especially not in the middle of the night like some drug addict seeks out drugs. A cult that kidnaps its children? That's rich and it's a total lie. Any alternate reality about a possible Karr cult would have been far more interesting than her nonsensical lies. Read more about Samantha Spiegel in Lei Sussurra's article, Samantha Spiegel's Macabre Collection of Killers.

It was brought to my attention by those who watched the 2010 coverage that I was compared to Charles Manson and Jim Jones in the media. I had already been compared to Manson by his prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, in 2006; however, Spiegel brought him back in 2010 because she was corresponding with him at the time. She was also corresponding with Richard Ramirez and Richard Allen Davis. I have a past with Davis, at least through an FBI investigation going back to 2001 and possibly earlier. Read more in my October 2023 article, The Disastrous Abduction of Polly Klaas Keep in mind that Spiegel was sharing stories of her contact with all her killer celebrities with the media.

If I am, or have ever been, the leader of a large group of like-minded individuals with a central cause, it would never be modeled after Manson or Jones and it certainly would not be called a cult. We would not be killing ourselves. We would be defending our growing family from outsiders who might want to destroy us. My followers would not fear me. They would love me and I would love them and would want the best for all. We would be united in a common cause. Our group would lead a very covert and nomadic existence. And finally, if the focus of our group is little girls, I would not be raising them for sex. I would be raising an army.

Article and Photography Design by John Mark Karr
Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved
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"Nobody joins a cult. Nobody joins something they think's going to hurt them. You join a religious organisation. You join a political movement. And you join with people that you really like."

Debbie Layton - Past People's Temple Member
The Life & Death of Peoples Temple

Jim Jones and People's Temple Resources:

Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple

Transmissions From Jonestown

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