Presumed Guilty: An Investigationinto the Jon Benet Ramsey Case, the Media & the Culture of Pornography

Published: 01/01/1999

On the morning of December 26, 1996, JonBenet Ramsey was found murdered in the basementof her parents’ million-dollar Boulder, Colorado home. The death of the 6-year-oldbeauty queen horrified the city’s residents and immediately captured the country’sinterest. As throngs of reporters swarmed into Boulder, local and national networksflashed images of JonBenet — provocatively dressed in pageant outfits — acrossAmerican TV screens and around the world.

Like the talk show media, the Boulder Police Department focused its suspicions almostexclusively on John and Patsy Ramsey. Despite pressure from the police to arrestthe Ramseys, the D.A.’s office, led by Alex Hunter, looked for new leads andother possible suspects. With conflict between the D.A. and the cops intensifying,the investigation gradually came to a standstill.

Expanding on the role he’d played a few years earlier in O.J. Simpson case,Singular decided to look deeper. Not content to pass judgment on the Ramseys withoutconclusive evidence, and convinced there was a reason the legal system was waryabout prosecuting the case, he followed his own trail into the murder. It took himfrom the local bars to the county jail and onto shocking Internet web sites featuringimages of girls the same age as JonBenet who’d been tied up and sexually tortured– for pleasure and profit. Instead of simply wanting to know who killedJonBenet Ramsey, Singular began to question what part of our culture andwhat kind of child exploitation may have caused her death?

His search led him into the seamy worlds of tabloid journalism, local politics,child beauty pageants, child pornography, and the big business of Internet sex justas it was taking off in cyberspace. His discovery — of a subculture that sexuallyuses and abuses young children — motivated him to share his research with boththe D.A. and the Boulder police. Presumed Guilty is his account of a journeyinto one of the darkest corners of American life.