by E.J. Hammon
Despite Ted Bundy’s obvious attraction to college-aged women, recent allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior from the daughter of Ted’s ex-girlfriend have come to light, stunning the true crime community. It has left many wondering whether Bundy had an attraction to children as well as to adult women. The true crime community has debated his interest in necrophilia, decapitation, even mastication throughout the past four decades. However, very little is said or written about his abduction and murder of two 12-year-old girls, his murder of a 15-year-old girl, or the possibility that he abducted and murdered his 8-year-old neighbor in Tacoma when he was a teenager.
Upon the re-release of her book, “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy,” Elizabeth Kloepfer (writing under the name Elizabeth Kendall) asked her daughter to write a chapter about her experiences with Ted, whom she knew between ages three to ten. Molly Kloepfer remembers being completely delighted by Ted, as any child would be, when meeting an adult who takes an interest in their world. The youngster thought he was “funny, handsome, [and] well-dressed.” He watched cartoons with her and read her bedtime stories. She loved him and though she later found it hard to admit, he was sexually inappropriate with her on more than one occasion. Molly has alleged that Ted liked to touch her a lot, more than other adults seemed to do. Sometimes his fingers would slip into her underwear when he carried her. Ted was always swinging her, putting her in his lap, and tickling her. He also took a picture of her while she was in the bathtub, despite her protestations. Once when her mother was away from the house, they played hide and seek. During the course of the game, Bundy disrobed and revealed his erection to the 7-year-old Molly. Though he didn’t assault her, that same night, he ejaculated when snuggled next to her in her bed. After that incident, Ted didn’t come back to see them for a while, causing Molly a great deal of confusion. She admitted it gave her a sense of mistrust when he decided to return to their house. Sadly, it took years before Molly was able to tell her mother about the incident.
While on death row, Ted confessed to the abduction and murder of 12-year-old Lynette Culver from Pocatello, Idaho in 1975. Her body was never found. He also confessed to murdering and later the body of 15-year-old, Susan Curtis in Utah. Her body is still missing. In 1980, Ted was convicted of the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. He abducted the young girl from her middle school campus, then brutally assaulted, killed, and dumped her small body in an abandoned hog shed.
Though he wasn’t a suspect at the time of her abduction, Ted was later considered a person of interest in the missing person case of 8-year-old Ann Marie Burr. She vanished from her home in Tacoma, Washington in 1961 when Ted was 14. Police noted that he lived just a few blocks from Ann Marie’s house and knew her because she took piano lessons from his Uncle Jack. Though he was asked by authorities and the victim’s mother if he played a part in her disappearance, Ted never admitted guilt. To be quite frank, he was probably too young to have abducted, murdered, and disposed of the young girl’s body, but until Bundy is fully eliminated as a suspect, we have to consider the possibility of his involvement.
When we think about pedophiles, we often imagine greasy, slimy-looking individuals who fit the profile of a low-life. Bundy was anything but the “type” of predator we expect. Of course, he didn’t seem like the type of person who would brutalize anyone, but we know for a fact that he is guilty of over 30 murders. It isn’t too far of a stretch to imagine that Bundy may have acted inappropriately with other children through the years.
Most people believe that pedophiles are only ever interested in children but that’s not how the sliding scale of pedophilia works. Some people are only drawn to children or pre-pubescent children, but others find themselves drawn to a wider range of ages, including adults. Given that he seemed to have been drawn to Molly Kloepfer when she was 7 years old, he would probably fit into the category of non-exclusive pedophile. Non-exclusive pedophiles are sexually attracted to both children and adults. He could have realized that pursuing adult women would appear more normal to the outside world and may have only pursued juveniles when he was desperate for a victim. Perhaps he figured they wouldn’t fight back as much and he could control them easily. With Kimberly Leach and Lynette Culver, Bundy was trolling nearby middle schools, so he knew how old his potential victims would be, clearly not having a problem with it.
Though it’s often a touchy subject and difficult to discuss, Bundy’s interest in young girls should be addressed and acknowledged. Even if he wasn’t primarily driven by a lust for children, he clearly chose to assault them just as he did his adult victims. After all the chaos he created and damage he did to so many people, should we really be surprised that a serial murderer was just as dangerous to children as he was to young women? I think we can safely say that while Bundy wasn’t a primary pedophile, his proclivities dipped into the arena of sex with minors when convenient. It might not be fair to address him solely as a pedophile, but I think we can gather enough information through his victimization of children to add it to his list of deviances and aberrations.
Kendall, Elizabeth. The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy. 2020, pp 200-204.
“Pedophilia. “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia.” n.p. n.d. Web. 3/7/2020.