Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Former Calumet County DA Ken Kratz Pleads No Contest, Says He’s a Sex Addict

with 6 comments

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.”

Absolutely right.

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.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. likamarie

    June 20, 2012 at 2:38 am

    • I am very much in favor of April’s Law, Lika. And I’m very much in favor of victims’ rights, too.

      That being said, Ken Kratz really doesn’t belong in the same category as a child sex predator; Kratz is alleged to have sexually harassed Stephanie Van Groll, who was then 25, and a few other women over the age of 18 (probably over 21). Plus he’s admitted to being a sex addict. And he’s undergoing treatment to help himself, which is good.

      I really dislike what Kratz did (the “sexting” incident with Van Groll), and won’t retract my comment about Kratz being “one of the world’s worst people.” But as bad as his behavior was — and it was very, very bad indeed — at least he didn’t go after children. (I know that’s not saying a whole lot.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      • Well, even if April’s Law is targeting those sex predators that go after children, just because we’re dealing with adults doesn’t always mean they’re not predators. Many sex addicts, even if they don’t mean to commit a crime, will use unintended predatory skills to lure sex to come to them, because they seek those who need attention.

        At least not children, which is good. But, we all know that a sex offender comes in many different facets.


        June 23, 2012 at 3:17 am

      • That’s certainly true, Lika. And in that case, certainly Kratz’s bad behavior could and probably should be seen as predatory due to the fact that he was harassing a victim of domestic violence.

        What do you think of Jerry Sandusky’s conviction on 45 counts of involuntary sex with a child (otherwise known as pedophilia)? (He was acquitted of three counts. I’m not sure which three those were. But the 45 counts he was convicted of will keep him in jail for the rest of his life, with a maximum sentence time of 445 years.)

        Barb Caffrey

        June 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      • I find it satisfactory, because it’s about time that we send a message that it’s WRONG to rape our children. If more cases came out with these results, we wouldn’t need April’s Law.


        June 24, 2012 at 3:22 am

  2. I just wish it hadn’t taken so long for Sandusky’s victims to get their day in court.

    Barb Caffrey

    June 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: