Terror suspect was caregiver
Aided dying father of boyfriend in Pa.
PHILADELPHIA — Colleen R. LaRose spent long days caring for her boyfriend’s father in a second-floor apartment in Pennsburg, a small town north of Philadelphia.
But online, federal authorities say, the devoted caretaker developed a daring alter ego, refashioning herself as “Jihad Jane’’ while helping recruit and finance Muslim terrorists — and eventually moving overseas to kill an artist she perceived as an enemy to Islam.
LaRose, 46, was charged Tuesday with conspiring with jihadist fighters and pledging to commit murder in the name of Muslim holy war, or jihad. The indictment was announced hours after authorities arrested seven suspected terrorists in Ireland allegedly linked to LaRose, who has been in prison since she was arrested Oct. 15 upon her return to the United States.
In e-mails the FBI recovered over 15 months, LaRose agreed to marry an online contact from South Asia so he could move to Europe. She also agreed to become a martyr, the indictment said.
Born in Michigan, LaRose moved to Texas as a girl and had married twice by age 24. Her first marriage was at 16, to a man twice her age in Tarrant County, Texas, public records show. There are no records or reports of any children from either union, both of which were long over by the time she met Kurt Gorman of Pennsylvania in about 2005.
LaRose lived with Gorman and his father in Pennsburg, caring for the older man while Gorman worked at his family’s small business in another town, Gorman said this week.
“She was a good-hearted person,’’ he said yesterday. “She pretty much stayed around the house.’’
But online, authorities say, she grew increasingly devoted to a loose band of violent coconspirators from around the world.