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Archive for the ‘Ken Kratz’ Category

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

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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:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/disgraced-former-da-says-selfrespect-has-returned-dh5r934-159649375.html

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

Wisconsin Department of Justice Fails; No Charges Against Ken Kratz

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Folks, this just disgusts me.

I wrote several blogs on this subject last October because what Ken Kratz did as the District Attorney of Calument County was absolutely appalling and beyond disgraceful.  It was shocking, rude, disgusting and absolutely wrong.

At any rate, Kratz must have a guardian angel or two looking out for him because he’s not going to face any charges of prosecutorial malfeasance for calling the much younger Stephanie Van Groll (then a domestic abuse victim) a “hot young nymph” (and other disgraceful things) via text message.  This was not right because of many things — Van Groll’s ex-boyfriend and abuser was being prosecuted then by Ken Kratz, for starters — but the state Department of Justice has determined that while Kratz didn’t do anything good with this, he didn’t “break any laws.”

All I can say are two things; here’s the link to the story, first:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/28/ken-kratz-sexting-prosecu_n_841412.html

And second — BS!   (BS to the highest degree, even.)

Look.  Justice should not be partisan, OK?  And it’s obvious what happened here — Kratz abused his authority, what appears to be over and over again — yet the DoJ refuses to do anything about it?

Astonishing, even considering the nonsense we’re putting up with right now in Wisconsin, which I have blogged about ad nauseum (just look for posts under “Wisconsin Politics,” “Wisconsin Protests” and “Wisconsin Recall Elections” if you want more on this topic).

Here’s the deal, folks: Ken Kratz managed to dodge a huge bullet here.  It’s unjust, not to mention very, very wrong, for him to have done so, and the only reason I can think of as to why Kratz managed to dodge this bullet is because of Wisconsin politics, sordid though it is.

Disgusting!

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Updates on Past Blogs: Kratz out, Capuano finishes season.

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Today I wanted to write a quick update about what’s going on with some of those who’ve been featured in my past blog entries.

First and best, Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz is now the former DA of Calumet County as he has resigned.  As I’d previously written — and hoped would happen — Governor Jim Doyle (D-WI), who used to be the Attorney General of the state of Wisconsin before he was elected as Governor, had started the process to formally remove Kratz from office, which put an enormous amount of pressure on Kratz to resign.  Doyle had said in this article from 9/21/2010  (http://www.htrnews.com/article/20100921/MAN0101/309220021/Wisconsin-Gov-Jim-Doyle-sees-Calumet-County-DA-Ken-Kratz-sexting-case-as-very-serious-issue-), which was widely covered by Wisconsin newspapers:

An outraged Doyle said Monday he would start the process to consider removing Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz and that he hopes to make a decision in a month. At a news conference five days after The Associated Press broke the story, Doyle said any prosecutor who would have behaved that way on his watch would have faced repercussions.

“I consider this to be a very, very, very serious issue,” said Doyle, a former district attorney and attorney general who leaves the governor’s office in January.

“It’s one that personally strikes to a lot of things I have worked very hard on in my career: crime victims’ rights and domestic violence. It troubles me deeply that somebody turns to the criminal justice system for help and receives the kinds of texts we have seen.”

And Gov. Doyle delivered, as Kratz, as of today, has resigned his position as DA.  Kratz’s resignation was covered widely as well; one account of it is here at this link:

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20101004/GPG0101/101004091/1207&located=rss

Kratz’s resignation was quiet and done via press release, which stated:

“It is with deep sadness and regret that I announce my resignation as Calumet County district attorney, effective immediately,” Kratz wrote in a statement. “I have lost the confidence of the people I represent due primarily to personal issues which have now affected my professional career.”

I am very happy that Kratz is gone, and hope the people of Calumet County will now rest a bit easier with Kratz’s resignation.

Next, Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano completed his comeback season; as previous blogs have reported, left-hander Capuano came back this year from his second “Tommy John” ligament replacement surgery in his left arm and pitched effectively, going 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 66 innings, starting nine games and appearing in 24.  The rest of his statistics are available many places, but I prefer FanGraphs.com, an excellent baseball resource site for the serious fan; here’s that link:

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1701&position=P

Capuano started his final game last Saturday and struggled against the Cincinnati Reds, giving up three runs, ten hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings.  After the game, a 7-4 loss (Capuano did not lose the game due to the Brewers offense tying the game at 4-4 in the seventh inning), Capuano said:

“It was a battle,” said Capuano. “It was one of those games when even when I had them hitting my pitch, they found holes. They hit a couple of balls hard.

“They never took the pressure off me, never really allowed me to settle into a groove. As a pitcher, you’re aware of the pace of the game (3 hours, 39 minutes). I was saying, ‘Let me have a clean inning. Let me move this game along a little bit.’ ”

But as Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Tom Haudricourt said at this article (http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/104209094.html):

Capuano wasn’t going to let the shaky outing tarnish the comeback season he enjoyed after sitting out two years following a second Tommy John elbow surgery.

He quoted Capuano, who said:

“Physically, I’m feeling great,” said Capuano, who is eligible for free agency. “That’s everything that I hoped for out of this year. I had an uphill battle today. They’re a good team; they have a good offense.

“I don’t know what to expect (on the market). I’m glad now I can take a rest from throwing. I really haven’t stopped throwing since this rehab program began.”

I’m very, very proud of Chris Capuano, and I’m glad the Brewers re-signed him to a minor league deal last year.  Capuano is an outstanding example of patience, resilience and endurance, and I truly hope the Brewers re-sign him for next season as he’s shown he can still be an effective major league pitcher.

Calumet County (WI) DA Ken Kratz — one of the World’s Worst People.

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Wisconsin’s District Attorney of Calumet County, Ken Kratz, must be one of the world’s worst people.  He sexually harassed a victim by sending her text messages showing his sexual interest in her — mind you, doing this to a young woman who’d sought help from his office due to being physically abused by her ex-boyfriend — and believes he has done nothing “ethically wrong.”

How he can live with himself after sending these racy texts — one of which called this poor abused woman a “hot, young nymph” — I just don’t know.

Read the initial story at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel here:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/102983229.html

A few relevant quotes:

According to the police report, Kratz, 50, began sending text messages to Stephanie L. Van Groll, 26, after she met with him Oct. 20 regarding domestic abuse charges that had been filed against her ex-boyfriend. Van Groll reported the text messages to Kaukauna police two days later.

Kratz wrote in his first text that it was nice talking with Van Groll and that she should feel free to text him between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to copies of the messages included in the police report.

“You have such potential,” Kratz wrote in the initial text message. “See ya. KEN (your favorite DA).”

Van Groll thanked Kratz in a reply text message, but he continued texting her, sending 30 messages over three days, according to the report.

Yet Kratz did not quit — here’s one of his racy text messages to Van Groll:

“Im serious!” Kratz wrote in another text. “Im the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”

Listen.  This is so wrong — so very, very, very wrong — that I have a hard time containing my disbelief and anger.

First off, the way Kratz has handled this has been plain, flat wrong.  Yesterday he confronted a Journal-Sentinel reporter and was abusive over the invasion of Kratz’s privacy — and today, all he did was to read a prepared statement saying he was “willing to seek counseling” (I heard the statement on WTMJ-Radio, AM 620 in Milwaukee, WI) and that he didn’t do anything wrong — but that he felt it was “inappropriate” and “disrespectful.”

Not strong enough, Mr. Kratz.  And not nearly enough for Wisconsin’s victim advocates, who are calling for Kratz’s removal as DA (since Kratz defiantly said today he “will not step down” but only may seek some “personal time off.”)

Here’s a link to one article about that:

http://www.wfrv.com/news/local/Victim-advocates-call-for-DA-Kratzs-resignation-103156264.html

This article is important, because in it, you see that the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, American Indians Against Abuse and victim advocates statewide — all of them —  released this joint statement in reaction to Kratz’s abhorrent behavior:

Since Ken Kratz’s sexual harassment of a domestic violence victim has come to the public’s attention, he has had the opportunity to acknowledge and take responsibility for the full impact of his actions. He has failed to do so and must resign.

Absolutely!  But I’m going to keep posting their statement, which is lengthy, with my commentary in between.

Going on:

In his public statement, Kratz said his sexual harassment was a ‘lapse of judgment’. Rather, his conduct and failure to take responsibility show a lack of character.

Once again, absolutely!  I can’t think of a worse example of a public servant anywhere, because Kratz was elected to the position of District Attorney, not appointed.  Remember, he was elected — which is why I put this in “United States politics” as one of my categories for this blog.

Going on:

As former chairperson of the Crime Victim Rights Board, Kratz knew that subjecting a domestic violence victim to unwanted sexual advances violated the Wisconsin state constitution’s guarantee that crime victims should be treated with fairness, dignity and respect for their privacy. Moreover, once his misdeeds came to light, he should have understood the real issue—victims in his community will have legitimate concerns in coming forward to report abuse.

 

Now, do you see what the problem is with Kratz’s behavior?   Kratz knew exactly what he was doing — and he didn’t care.  Appalling!

And Kratz can’t try to tell me he didn’t understand the implication of his actions, because he’s a lawyer who’s worked on behalf of victim rights’ advocates for a long, long time.  (He had to resign from a victim’s rights board over this — and rightfully so.)

Going on, and talking specifically about Kratz’s resignation from the board:

Instead, he has attempted to minimize and mislead. Kratz said that stepping down from the Crime Victim Rights Board was a ‘self-imposed sanction’. This is not true. It is clear from released email correspondences that the Wisconsin Department of Justice required Kratz to resign as a condition of not disclosing the victim’s complaint.

Why am I unsurprised?

Going on:

His mishandling of this incident is consistent with his authorship of the appalling text messages. In both instances, he has shown an entitlement to his own position and power and a willingness to manipulate others for personal gain.

That’s for sure.

Going on — note that I broke the paragraph, not the various organizations who wrote this condemnatory and effective press release:

About one year ago, Kratz wrote to a battered and bruised strangulation victim, “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!” He further demonstrated his willingness to emotionally exploit the victim by writing, “Hey..Miss Communication, what’s with the sticking point? Your low self-esteem and you fear you can’t successfully play in my big sandbox?” Later when authorities investigated the victim’s complaint, Kratz pressured investigators to not pursue the matter, characterized these messages as compliments and expressed concern only for his ‘reputational interests.’ Now, he feels he owes victims and citizens no further comment or explanation.

I’d call Kratz a Neanderthal, but that’s insulting the poor Neanderthals, who didn’t do anything to anyone — and couldn’t help what they were, for that matter.  (Innocent savages, mostly.)

This guy, Kratz, is a man who has abused his position for attempted gain at absolute best.  But in the process, he sexually abused and harassed this poor woman, Ms. Van Groll, which makes his offense a thousand times worse.  That it apparently is not illegal is no excuse — it is immoral, and is shockingly bad conduct.

And I know if I were living in Calumet County, I would already be starting to find out how quickly this guy could be recalled.  Because as he was elected, he should also be able to recalled if he refuses to step down — as so far, he has refused. 

Remember, Kratz did all this last year, in 2009.  He’s known about this for a year and done diddly-squat.  So it’s obvious he won’t go on his own.

Now, I heard Kratz’s press conference, carried live on WTMJ Radio — and I was quite displeased by it.  Seeking counseling is not enough, and saying it was “inappropriate” and “disrespectful” is also not nearly enough.

I am with these victim advocates, who conclude their statement with the following:

As Ms. Van Groll’s case demonstrates, domestic violence is a matter of life and death. 67 people died in Wisconsin last year during domestic violence incidents. A victim’s confidence in the system can make all the difference in whether he or she gets help and safety or becomes a murder victim. Sadly, this is a fact that despite claiming to have a ‘25 year career… as a vigorous advocate for crime victims’ Kratz is too self-interested—on many levels—to understand. He must resign.

(Emphasis mine.)

As I said before — how can this man live with himself?

Oh, one more thing.  Kratz is now going through a divorce.  (Is anyone surprised, except Kratz?  I think not.)

Do the right thing, Mr. Kratz.  Resign.  Now.  Or face recall.   Or possibly even be removed by the Governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle (WTMJ Radio reported around 6 PM this evening, 9/17/2010, that Doyle will be meeting with State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to see what can be done in this case, which sounded plenty ominous to me), something that has never before happened in my lifetime.

Because one way or another, Mr. Kratz, you will be out very soon.  Which seems to me to be a very good thing for the people of Calumet County — the victims in particular!

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm