WISCONSINREPORT.COM (09/27/2010) - Calumet County, Wisconsin, District Attorney Ken Kratz has decided to step down from his position, instead of facing removal proceedings, following allegations that he sent messages of a sexual nature to women. However, Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman Mike Tate is still upset with the Department of Justice.
Tate says documents show the DOJ did not do a complete investigation before the DOJ issued a statement that there was insufficient evidence to move forward with a criminal proceeding against Kratz.
DA Ken Kratz's lawyer says Kratz, who has been a prosecutor since 1992, will resign, instead of being forced to resign involuntarily, or being removed from office through proceedings initiated by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.
Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate continues to charge that Attorney General Van Hollen (Republican) did not handle the allegations against his fellow Republican, Ken Kratz, properly. Tate disagrees with the DOJ declaration that a "thorough investigation" revealed no criminal wrongdoing in Van Hollen's decision to not pursue charges against his political ally.
Tate says Department of Justice reports directly contradict Van Hollenís claim, showing Kratz was never interviewed by investigators before the Attorney General closed the case.
"J. B. Van Hollen's investigation of his political ally was a sham and now documents prove that," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate.
"Is there any doubt now why J.B. Van Hollen is resisting a probe independent of the influence he appears to be wielding in protecting a sexual predator," Tate asked.
According to the Department of Justice case summary, the Kratz case was first referred to Van Hollenís office by Kaukauna Police on Friday, October 23, 2009. On November 2nd, just six business days later, Kratz was notified that no criminal investigation was pending and that the "case was done" as far as Van Hollenís office was concerned. Van Hollen subsequently asserted that Kratz "didnít break any laws."
"At best this is incompetence by J.B. Van Hollen," Tate said. "At worst, this is a coverup of sexual predation," Tate suggested.
Kratz has been accused of sending electronic messages to at least one woman, calling her a "hot nymph" and asked if she was "the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA." There have been similar situations alleged by one or more other women.
The Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) announced last Friday that it would reopen an investigation into the allegations and determine whether Kratz committed professional misconduct.
50 year old Kratz, who has been on medical leave, has apologized for sending text messages to 26-year old Stephanie Van Groll, but, so far has said nothing about the other women he is alleged to have sent similar messages to.
Governor Jim Doyle went on record last week in opposition to a District Attorney in the State of Wisconsin being engaged in such an activity. Doyle was the state's Attorney General before becoming Governor. He indicated that if similar accusations were to be made against a county prosecutor when he was AG, he would not stand for it.
Doyle, as Wisconsin Governor, initiated further investigation of the Calument County DA after it was brought to his attention following news accounts of the allegations that Kratz sent text messages to a domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge.
Kratz was appointed by Gov. Tommy Thompson and had been re-elected several times without opposition. He was not up for re-election until 2012.
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