Former Calumet County DA Ken Kratz Pleads No Contest, Says He’s a Sex Addict
For the past three years, I’d believed that the former District Attorney of Calumet County, Ken Kratz, wasn’t going to be charged with anything, even though he’d sent racy text messages to a victim of domestic violence. After all, the Wisconsin Department of Justice failed to file charges, one of the most disgraceful non-actions I’ve seen out of the DoJ. After that, Kratz opened up a small law practice in Kimberly, Wisconsin.
Yet late in 2011, the Office of Lawyer Regulation filed an eleven-count complaint against Kratz, seeking a six-month suspension. That prompted a hearing today that was held in Appleton; Kratz was asked to answer to six counts of professional misconduct due to the scandal over his “sexting” incident (which I wrote about here and here). Kratz officially pleaded no contest to all six counts.
Please see the following story for details:
And here’s a few words from today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article:
Kratz, 51, began the morning by pleading no contest to six counts of professional misconduct related to texts and comments he made to women in 2009. The incident came to light in the fall of 2010 when The Associated Press re ported Kratz had tried to start a sexual relationship with a 25-year-old woman, the victim in a domestic violence case he was prosecuting.
The case quickly earned national attention, in part because Kratz, the elected district attorney of Calumet County, was also the chairman of the state’s crime victims’ rights board and had played a key role in passage of the state’s victims’ rights law. He also had earned statewide attention for prosecuting Steven Avery in 2007 for the sexual assault and murder of a photographer.
An aside — the Steven Avery case was very big news here, one of the biggest and nastiest cases Wisconsin has seen in the past twenty-five years or more. The fact that Kratz was the prosecuting attorney speaks to the fact that Kratz was professionally able; that Kratz also was the head of the Wisconsin victims’ rights board also speaks to his ability.
Yet Kratz was a sex addict, something he now knows and isn’t afraid to tell anyone; this, apparently, is the reason he sent those nasty texts to Stephanie Van Groll (then only twenty-five, or about half of Kratz’s age).
Honestly, I don’t know what to say about Kratz’s sex addiction, except that it’s good he’s getting treatment (Kratz said elsewhere in the Journal-Sentinel article that he goes four times weekly to a twelve-step program for people dealing with “compulsive sexuality issues”). But it still bothers me that a respected DA with so much ability would do any of this, and at least a small part of me cheered the following remarks by a well-known women’s advocate:
Patti Seger, executive director the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said Tuesday’s hearing was “a long time coming,” and that it appeared for months as if he would not be held professionally accountable.
“Kratz was sworn to protect the vulnerable,” Seger said in a prepared statement. “Instead, he caused victims in Calumet County and beyond to question their faith in the justice system.”
Anyway, I don’t wish to kick anyone, not even Ken Kratz (someone I’ve previously called one of the “world’s worst people”), when he’s down. So at this point, I’ll just wish the former DA good luck with his treatment for sex addiction — and I’ll also hope that with time, luck, patience, and good health treatment that Kratz will once again be able to use his formidable ability with the law for good. (Rather than for his own, personal gratification, which is what got him into this mess in the first place.)