Legal Ethics

DA Sexts Domestic Abuse Victim, Informs Her 'I am the Prize'

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A Wisconsin district attorney who sexted a domestic abuse victim has resigned as chair of the Wisconsin Crime Victims Rights Board, but he is refusing to step down from his prosecutor post.

Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent 30 texts to the woman, the Associated Press reports, including this one: “Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA … the riskier the better?”

In another message cited by the Post-Crescent, he wrote: “I’m the attorney. I have the $350,000 house. I have the six-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize.”

Kratz reported his actions to lawyer discipline officials after the victim went to police. The Office of Lawyer Regulation found that Kratz’s misconduct was inappropriate, but it did not involve professional misconduct, the Post-Crescent says.

Kratz was prosecuting the woman’s ex-boyfriend on charges that he had choked her. He stepped aside, claiming a conflict of interest, after learning of the police complaint. AP says the woman, Stephanie Van Groll, was 26 years old, while the Post-Crescent said she was 25. She told AP she is upset because she went through three days of hell, and Kratz received just “a slap on the wrist.”

Kratz is the DA who prosecuted a woman for luring a cheating boyfriend to a hotel room and gluing his penis to his stomach, the Associated Press reports in an earlier story.

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