February 9, 2016

Sexting DA settles lawsuit

A sexual assault victim will get some kind of settlement, after she was harassed by a former district attorney who prosecuted her abusive boyfriend. Former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz avoided a federal court trial set for next week by striking a deal with Stephanie Van Groll. The terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed, according to WLUK-TV.

Kratz sent over 30 racy text messages to try and strike up an affair with Van Groll in 2009, while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend on domestic violence charges. The DA, who was almost 50 at the time, called her a “hot nymph” and referred to himself as “the prize.” He was never charged after Van Groll called police, but resigned from his office because of the scandal.

Van Groll later filed a federal lawsuit claiming that her civil rights were violated. Kratz tried, but failed, to get the case dropped. He said “flirtatious text messages” were not enough to violate somebody’s rights.

The texts were sent in 2009, but did not hit the news until the following summer. Once the information was out, other women came forward to say that Kratz sexually harassed them. Former Governor Jim Doyle had started proceedings to remove Kratz when he resigned. He later became a private lawyer in the Fox Valley, but he filed for bankruptcy last year.

Meanwhile, the state Office of Lawyer Regulation has recommended that Kratz have his state law license suspended for six months. Kratz has argued a reprimand would be in order, saying he’s been punished enough. The case remains pending before the State Supreme Court.

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