This is an abuse of power of the worst kind..
Kenneth R. Kratz, District Attorney sworn to protect victims, and uphold the law is a sexual predator who stalks and harasses vulnerable women. Even when Kratz’s horrific acts are exposed, he avoids criminal charges, and is given a lenient sentence by the judge who suspends his law license for 4 months. Public outcry did force Kratz to step down as DA.
Date of Charges, Length of Case: 2010-2013
Abuser/Perpetrator Name: Kenneth R. Kratz
Position: Served as Calumet County District Attorney from 1992-2010, planned to run for office again in 2012. Also was the Chairman of the Wisconsin Crime Victims Rights Board (forced to resign after this scandal).
Location: Calumet County, WI
Victim 1: Stephanie van Groll, a Domestic Violence Victim, went to the court to prosecute her boyfriend for trying to strangle her. Kratz was supposed to be prosecuting the abuser but instead began to target the victim by sending 30 sexually explicit and threatening text messages.
After Stephanie filed her first complaint, detailing the abuse, Kratz sent her suggestive text messages. Sent sexually explicit text messages that included asking if she was “the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected D.A.” and referring to the victim as “tall, young, hot nymph“.
Kratz pressured Stephanie into a sexual relationship, and implied if she did not do what he wanted he would drop her case.
Stephanie filed a civil suit against Kratz for sexual harassment and reached an undisclosed settlement in Feb 2013.
Victim 2: Anon woman made complaints after this case hit the media. She stated that she met Kratz online, and during their date he revealed details about a murder investigation and invited her to attend the autopsy. The reports imply that Kratz was turned on by the autopsy, and thought it would be a hot date to bring a woman along.
Victim 3: Maria Ruskiewicz asked for Katz’s help with a drug pardon and was sent sexually explicit text messages, implying their would be a sexual cost for his help.
Victim 4: Anon Woman who needed help with a domestic violence impact statement, Katz texted that he would do it in exchange for sex.
Reports say at least a dozen women came forward with similar complaints, including two social workers
Response: Kratz initially went on “medical leave” due to a “non physical illness” and then went into psychotherapy (probably a publicity stunt!). Kratz is claiming he was addicted to sex, and got hooked onto drugs, and the drugs weakened his will so he could not resist abusing, stalking and harassing vulnerable women. He did go to treatment, which is why he got a lenient sentence from the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation , who decided Kratz had “suffered enough”. What about the victims? They have suffered horribly, shouldn’t the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation be more concerned with their well being?!
Kratz apologized in front of the media. Then hired a high powered attorney. Kratz fought stepping down as DA, stating that other people have done worse things.
*Officials with the Department of Justice found no evidence of criminal conduct but forced Kratz to resign as chairman of the Wisconsin Crime Victims Rights Board and report himself to the state Office of Lawyer Regulation, who did an investigation.
*Due to public outcry, Katz was forced to resign as DA
*The WI Justice Dept. investigated but did not file criminal charges, largely because their investigation turned the tables on the victims, and refused to listen, claiming that the victims were mentally ill, on drugs and had past criminal convictions. Other legal technicalities invalidated the claims of the victims.
Is anyone paying attention to the pattern here? Katz obviously targets these women for those very reasons–he was right in assuming that even if guilty of these egregious acts, his reputation is much more powerful than the victims he is sworn to protect.
2012- Judge Robert Kinney’s Lenient Sentence on Katz is despicable: The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation, which is charged with enforcing attorney ethics, investigated Katz and argued for a 6 month suspension (it could have gone up to 1 year). According to Supreme Court rules, the 6 month suspension would also require a reinstatement hearing. At the hearing, Kratz would be required to show by “clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence” that he “has the moral character to practice law in Wisconsin.” Isn’t this what we citizens deserve to know!
INSTEAD Judge Robert Kinney gave Katz a 4 month suspension of his law license–and this guy is clearly a danger to women, danger to the public and is totally out of control.
ABC News, “Wisconsin Prosecutor Admits ‘Sexting’ Domestic Violence Victim, Goes on Leave”. Stevem Portnoy. Sept 20, 2010: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wisconsin-district-attorney-kenneth-kratz-admits-sexting-domestic/story?id=11684807
CNN,”Wisconsin DA resigns, governor says.” CNN Wire Staff. Oct 4, 2010: http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/09/27/wisconsin.da.scandal/index.html
Journal Sentinel, “Lawyer says Kratz will resign, Calumet County district attorney accused of sending racy text messages to several women”. Ryan Haggerty. Sept. 27, 2010: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/103863858.html
PostCrescent.com, “Judge recommends lighter penalty in former DA Ken Kratz’s texting.” Jim Collar. July 30, 2012: http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20120731/APC0101/307310159/Judge-recommends-lighter-penalty-ex-DA-sexting-case-story-photos-?nclick_check=1
Wislawjournal.com, “Former Wis. prosecutor won’t face charges over sexting (Update)”. Associated Press. March 28, 2011: http://wislawjournal.com/2011/03/28/former-wis-prosecutor-kratz-wont-face-charges-over-sexting/