Probe of Key Racist is Dropped

Extremists in Court

With his inflammatory leadership of the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations, and his influential ideas about organizing a white revolution, Vietnam veteran Louis Beam has been an icon of American racists for three decades now.

But his status in the movement has been imperiled by a custody battle that began when Beam filed suit in Idaho, asking for more visitation time with the two daughters born of his fourth marriage. In a court-ordered examination, the two girls told a psychiatrist of alleged incidents that officials believed could constitute sexual molestation.

Now, to the relief of Beam and his admirers, Texas officials have dropped plans to present evidence against Beam to a grand jury. According to Angelina County Assistant District Attorney Dawn Armstrong, the case wasn't pursued because Beam passed a polygraph test and his daughters made "some conflicting statements" about the incidents.

Still, Armstrong expressed dismay that the chief investigator on the case did not send it to a grand jury.

"He is extremely strange," Armstrong said of Beam, "and I think he is probably kind of dangerous."

The popularizer of "leaderless resistance" and other movement doctrines may be dangerous. But it's unclear what the former Klan leader is doing on behalf of his race.

At 55, married for a fifth time and raising twin boys, Beam has become one of the least visible of white supremacist ideologues. But his essays show that his antigovernment passion — and vocabulary — remain undimmed. Last year, he wrote that the government had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

Beam's daughters, who were 7 and 9 last spring, remain with their mother in Idaho. Files in the custody case have been sealed, and the case itself postponed. But it seems unlikely that Beam, who lives in Texas and frequently visits Costa Rica, will be granted additional time with the girls.