John Ramsey Regrets Putting JonBenet in Pageants

ABC News

It's been 15 years since six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was murdered and her father John is now speaking out about the surging popularity of child beauty pageants and the dangers of dressing up young girls to be put "on public display."

Ramsey tells ABC News that while he's never seen a full episode of the TLC hit Toddlers & Tiaras, he has seen segments from the show that he finds disturbing. "It's very bizarre. And it certainly... Patsy (JonBenet's mother) and JonBenet didn't approach it that way. We... they just did it for fun." 

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Patsy -- who died after a battle with ovarian cancer in 2006 -- was a former beauty queen herself and coordinated JonBenet's costumes and pageant appearances. JonBenet was found killed in the basement of the family's Boulder, CO, home on Dec. 26, 1996. 

John told ABC that he now regrets letting JonBenet compete in beauty pageants. "Only because that possibly might have drawn attention to us," he said. "I don't know. But  I think for advice to a parent is just recognize that regardless of where you live, there- there could be evil around you. And don't be naive about it. And keep your kids protected."

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He also recalled an incident just days before JonBenet's killing when Patsy had her sitting atop a friend's convertible in the Christmas parade waving to people along the way. "Patsy's mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable. I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naive. I now believe with all my heart that it's not a good idea to put your child on public display."

John has released a new book called The Other Side of Suffering, in which he reveals how his faith allowed him to gradually move from suffering to forgiveness. He admits being angry and bitter in the past, but says those feelings can be "damaging.