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UPDATE: Civil Lawsuit Against Former Prosecutor Settled

UPDATED Wednesday, February 13, 2013 --- 11:18 a.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Federal court records show a civil lawsuit filed against a former Calumet County district attorney has been settled.

Ken Kratz was accused of sexual harassment by a domestic abuse victim who said she received racy text messages from him while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend. Kratz resigned from his position as DA in 2010 after The Associated Press reported he tried to spark an affair with the woman, Stephanie Van Groll.

Kratz asked for the case to be dismissed in 2011, arguing the "flirtatious text messages" weren't sufficient to support Van Groll's assertion that her constitutional rights were violated.

WLUK-TV says Van Groll was seeking unspecified damages. No details of the settlement were released. A trial was scheduled for next week in Green Bay.

Kratz's attorney, Ted Tornehl, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 12, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin prosecutor accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim is due back in court next week to settle sexual harassment allegations.

Ken Kratz resigned from his position as Calumet County district attorney in 2010 after The Associated Press reported he tried to spark an affair with a woman while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend for domestic abuse.

The woman has filed a federal lawsuit alleging Kratz sexually harassed her. She's seeking unspecified damages. A trial is set to begin in the case on Feb. 19 in Milwaukee.

The state Office of Lawyer Regulation has recommended the state Supreme Court suspend Kratz's law license for six months. The court has yet to issue a decision on the recommendation.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, July 30, 2012 --- 8:12 p.m.

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- A special referee is recommending a less severe punishment for a former Wisconsin prosecutor accused of sexual harassment.

Retired Judge Robert Kinney issued a report Monday recommending a four-month suspension of former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz's law license.

The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation is seeking a six-month suspension of Kratz's law license for sending text messages to a crime victim, seeking a relationship. Kratz is seeking just a formal reprimand.

WLUK reports Kinney noted other license suspensions of six months or more involved more serious conduct, and that Kratz is unlikely to reoffend.

Kratz contends he's suffered enough and deserves a chance to rebuild his career.

The report follows a hearing held last month. The Wisconsin Supreme Court will decide what punishment, if any, is appropriate.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 19, 2012 --- 2:37 p.m.

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin prosecutor accused of rampant sexual harassment says he was addicted to sex and prescription drugs.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz testified in a state Office of Lawyer Regulation hearing Tuesday his sexual compulsions didn't affect his professional life until 2009, when prescription drugs lowered his inhibitions and he tried to spark an affair with a domestic abuse victim through a barrage of text messages.

Kratz resigned in 2010 after The Associated Press reported the texts. He testified he put a gun in his mouth as criticism mounted.

The OLR wants the state Supreme Court to suspend Kratz's law license. Kratz is trying to convince a referee at the hearing he has suffered enough.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, June 15, 2012 --- 10:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin prosecutor accused of rampant sexual harassment has agreed to plead no contest to six ethics violations.

The state Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint against former Calumet County District Ken Kratz in November alleging 11 breaches of state Supreme Court attorney conduct rules. The complaint alleges Katz solicited a domestic abuse victim, had sex with a woman he prosecuted and made sexual remarks to other women, and asked the court to suspend his law license.

A hearing is set for Tuesday.

Office of Lawyer Regulation attorney Tom Basting agreed to drop five counts including two connected to the sexual assault allegations that he dropped Friday. Kratz agreed to plead no contest to the remaining six counts.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, June 15, 2012 --- 10:20 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The office that oversees attorney conduct in Wisconsin has decided to drop two more misconduct charges against a former prosecutor accused of rampant sexual harassment.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation filed 11 misconduct charges against former Calumet County District Ken Kratz in November. The charges allege he tried to solicit a domestic abuse victim, had sex with a woman he prosecuted for theft and made sexual remarks to two county social workers.

The office wants the state Supreme Court to suspend Kratz's law license. A hearing has been set for next week.

OLR attorney Tom Basting has dropped three counts against Kratz ahead of the hearing. On Friday he said he has agreed to drop two more counts and Kratz has agreed to plead no contest to the remaining six.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, June 14, 2012 --- 1:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The agency that oversees Wisconsin lawyers has dropped three misconduct counts against a former prosecutor accused of rampant sexual harassment.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation has filed 11 misconduct counts against Ken Kratz. He could lose his law license for six months.

OLR attorney Tom Basting told case referee Robert E. Kinney Thursday the department won't pursue a count accusing Kratz of creating a conflict of interest by pursing a relationship with woman while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for domestic abuse. The agency also won't pursue two counts accusing Kratz of soliciting another woman seeking his help with a pardon.

Kratz has argued he removed himself from the domestic abuse prosecution and the woman seeking a pardon lied.

A hearing on the remaining counts is set for Tuesday.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, May 14, 2012 --- 3:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin prosecutor accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim has filed for bankruptcy.

Ken Kratz's attorney, William Woodrow, filed the petition in federal court in Green Bay on April 5. According to court records, Kratz said he has as many as 49 creditors and $500,001 to $1 million in liabilities.

Kratz resigned from his $105,000 position as Calumet County district attorney in 2010 after The Associated Press reported he tried to spark an affair with a woman while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend for domestic abuse.

The woman has filed a federal sexual harassment suit seeking unspecified damages against Kratz. The bankruptcy filing leveled an automatic stay on all creditors' actions against him, though. The woman's attorney, Michael Fox, didn't immediately return an email Monday.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, January 19, 2012 --- 2:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former Wisconsin prosecutor accused of trying to spark an affair with a domestic abuse victim wants the state Supreme Court to toss a complaint against him because state regulators already dismissed the case once.

Ken Kratz resigned from his position as Calumet County district attorney in 2010 after The Associated Press reported he sent a series of racy texts to a young domestic abuse victim.

The state Office of Lawyer Regulation declined to discipline him. The office reopened its investigation, however, in the wake of the AP's stories and in November filed a complaint with the Supreme Court asking the justices to suspend Kratz's law license.

Kratz argues in documents filed Thursday the Supreme Court should dismiss the complaint in part because the OLR already cleared him.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, December 13, 2011 --- 10:57 a.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- A federal sexual harassment lawsuit against former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz will not be thrown out.

Stephanie Van Groll is suing Kratz for sending racy text messages while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend for domestic abuse in 2009. The 27-year-old claims Kratz violated her constitutional equal protection rights.

This summer, Kratz filed a motion asking for the case to be dismissed, saying he did not violate Van Groll's constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge William Griesbach, based in Green Bay, denied Kratz's motion on Monday.

Kratz's attorney, Rob Bellin, told The Post-Crescent that he and Kratz will discuss whether to ask the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for a review.

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UPDATED: Friday, November 30, 2011 --- 5:00p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state office that oversees lawyer discipline says the Wisconsin Supreme Court should suspend a former prosecutor's law license for making sexual remarks to nearly half-a-dozen women.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation filed a complaint Wednesday alleging 11 counts of misconduct against former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz. The OLR asked the court to suspend Kratz's license for six months.

Kratz resigned in October of 2010 after The Associated Press reported he sent racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim. The OLR quietly closed a case against Kratz in March of that year without a formal review, saying his behavior was inappropriate but didn't appear to be an ethical violation.

The office reopened the case in September last year, bowing to intense public pressure following the AP's stories.

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UPDATED: Friday, April 1, 2011 --- 8:10 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A new batch of documents released by the Wisconsin Department of Justice show a former Calumet County district attorney frequently engaged in sexually suggestive behavior while in office.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports Friday that while state prosecutors said Monday the behavior did not violate the law, it apparently did make some women who worked with Ken Kratz uncomfortable.

Among the 150 pages of documents released Friday, some show Melissa Ruskiewicz approached Kratz for help in receiving a pardon for a drug conviction.

She was reportedly "freaked out" by a text message from him asking how she would "please him between the sheets."

Kratz faces a civil lawsuit by Stephanie Van Groll, a domestic abuse victim who alleges Kratz sexually harassed her via text messages.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, March 28, 2011 --- 10:10 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Justice Department says it won't file criminal charges against a former prosecutor accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

Former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz resigned in October after The Associated Press reported he sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim trying to strike up an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge.

Then-Gov. Jim Doyle began removal proceedings against Kratz, but Kratz quit instead. The Justice Department reopened an investigation into Kratz, however, after earlier concluding no criminal wrongdoing.

The agency says 15 women alleged improprieties by Kratz, including two who said they had sexual contact with him.

Kratz's attorney says he believes the agency made the right decision.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, January 17, 2011---1:39 p.m.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- The former Calumet County district attorney who resigned after a sexting scandal says he's immune from a civil lawsuit filed by a crime victim who claims he sexually harassed her.

Ken Kratz says he was a public official at the time of the alleged harassment. He's claiming absolute immunity and qualified immunity. Those are legal doctrines that shield government officials in certain cases from being sued for a violation of a person's constitutional rights.

The Post-Crescent of Appleton says Kratz's answer was filed Friday. It came in a response to a federal lawsuit filed by Stephanie Van Groll.

Kratz admitted sending suggestive text messages to Van Groll while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend. At least four other women have said Kratz made inappropriate sexual advances toward them.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, December 1, 2010 --- 1:33 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Department of Justice is refusing to represent a disgraced former district attorney in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a domestic abuse victim who says he sent her sexually suggestive text messages.

Ken Kratz resigned as Calumet County district attorney back in October amid an uproar over the text messages and claims of misconduct by at least four other women.

Kratz sent Stephanie Van Groll 30 text messages in three days last year while prosecuting her ex-boyfriend on charges of beating and nearly choking her to death.

A week after he resigned, Van Groll filed a federal lawsuit in Milwaukee claiming he violated her constitutional rights by sending her the text messages. Kratz asked the state to represent him in that case, but DOJ on Wednesday declined.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, October 15, 2010 --- 2:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A domestic abuse victim has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to declare that her constitutional rights were violated by a prosecutor who sent her sexually harassing text messages.

Attorney Michael Fox filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court in Milwaukee on behalf of 26-year-old Stephanie Van Groll.

Former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz sent Van Groll 30 text messages seeking to start an affair with her last year while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge.

The lawsuit notes that under Wisconsin law, witnesses have the right to be protected from harm arising out of their cooperation with law enforcement. Fox says the lawsuit aims to strengthen and clarify the rights of crime victims in Wisconsin.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the harm she suffered.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, October 15, 2010 --- 11:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin has opened a criminal investigation into a district attorney who resigned after several women said he abused his power to seek sexual relationships.

In a letter to The Associated Press on Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice confirms that former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz is the subject of an investigation that could lead to charges.

The agency's Division of Criminal Investigation last year concluded Kratz did not commit a crime when he sent sexually harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim. That finding suggests the new probe centers on other allegations.

The division asked the public last month to come forward with details of misconduct or illegal activity by Kratz.

A message left with Kratz's attorney was not immediately returned. A Justice Department spokesman says he cannot comment on nature of the investigation.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, October 13, 2010 --- 6:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A lawyer says he plans to file a claim Friday on behalf of a domestic abuse victim who received racy text messages from a former Wisconsin prosecutor.

In a news release, attorney Michael Fox says former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz not only "abused the privilege of his office," he also "victimized a woman who had already been victimized."

Kratz resigned last week. His resignation came after The Associated Press reported that he sent 30 text messages to a 26-year-old domestic abuse victim while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend.

WTMJ-AM of Milwaukee reports details of the claim will be made available when it's filed in federal court.

A message left Tuesday evening with Kratz's attorney was not returned.

Information from:
WTMJ-AM
http://www.620wtmj.com

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, October 4, 2010 --- 11:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin prosecutor who tried to spark an affair with a domestic violence victim has resigned.

The Associated Press reported last month that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge.

Gov. Jim Doyle began the process to remove Kratz from office about two weeks ago. His attorney said last week he would resign before this Friday.

Kratz issued a statement to the media on Monday saying he has lost the confidence of the people he represents. He also apologized to his family for embarrassing them.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, October 4, 2010 --- 11:20 a.m.

Update from Fox 11 in Green Bay:

Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz has officially resigned.

In a news release sent Monday, Kratz wrote, “I have lost the confidence of the people I represent due primarily to personal issues which have now affected my professional career.”

Kratz came under fire last month when a series of text messages he sent to a domestic abuse victim last year surfaced. In the messages, Kratz sought a personal relationship with the woman. The Office of lawyer Regulation cleared Kratz of any wrongdoing.

In the news release, Kratz wrote he is receiving treatment outside the state of Wisconsin. He wrote that he plans to continue treatment when he returns to Wisconsin, and eventually hopes to resume his legal career.

Statement from the Governor's Office:

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today issued the following statement after Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz resigned. Two weeks ago, Governor Doyle began the process to remove Kratz from office.

“Every victim of a crime, particularly sensitive crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Ken Kratz egregiously violated that basic right and therefore cannot hold the office of district attorney. As a former district attorney and attorney general, I was appalled when I first learned of his behavior. I am deeply grateful to the brave women who stepped forward.

“Other serious questions remain. We will refer all information this office has received for a full investigation to determine whether any criminal laws were violated. We must also determine why apparently no referral was made to the Crime Victims Rights Board and why there was an inadequate response from the OLR.

“I have worked with many victims of crime and am continuously inspired by their courage and perseverance. Here, it was the courage of the women who came forward that finally brought Mr. Kratz to account and protected future victims from having to be subjected to this unlawful behavior.”

Governor Doyle served three terms as the Dane County District Attorney and three terms as the Wisconsin Attorney General prior to being elected Governor. As Attorney General, he led the passage of the Crime Victims Bill of Rights and the creation of the Crime Victims Rights Board. A crime victim who believes their crime victim’s rights have been violated can file an anonymous complaint with the Board, which is attached to the state Department of Justice. The Board has the power to investigate these complaints, decide whether a violation has occurred, and levy sanctions and fines as it sees fit.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 30, 2010 --- 7:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state board meant to protect crime victims says its former chairman downplayed text messages he sent to a domestic abuse victim before he resigned last December.

The Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board said Wednesday that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz downplayed the severity of his conduct.

The texts included messages calling the woman a "tall young, hot nymph" and asking if she wanted to have "secret contact with an older married elected DA."

Kratz told the Office of Lawyer Regulation, which oversees lawyers, that he "candidly described" his behavior to the board. But the board says it's now clear he never gave a detailed description of the messages.

The board has come under fire for failing to take action against Kratz, who is expected to resign as district attorney next month.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 29, 2010 --- 3:25 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state board meant to protect crime victims says its former chairman downplayed the nature of text messages he sent a woman before he resigned last December.

The Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board issued a statement Wednesday saying Ken Kratz downplayed the severity of his conduct related to sexually harassing text messages sent to Stephanie Van Groll.

Kratz told the Office of Lawyer Regulation he "candidly described" his behavior to the board. The board's statement says it's now clear that he did not and never gave a detailed description of the messages.

The board issued the statement after coming under fire for failing to take action against Kratz. The board says it never received a complaint and has no authority in sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 29, 2010 --- 12:10 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A panel that protects crime victims has agreed to break the silence about its former chairman, who resigned after sending harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

The Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board decided to issue a written public statement sometime Wednesday afternoon about Ken Kratz's resignation last December. The decision came after members met for more than 90 minutes in closed session by telephone.

Kratz resigned after he was caught sending 30 text messages to a 26-year-old woman trying to start an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend. He has said he told the board about the messages and resigned in disgrace.

The board can sanction officials who mistreat victims and has come under fire for inaction against Kratz.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 29, 2010 --- 7:10 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A panel that protects crime victims will meet to discuss its former chairman, who stepped down after sending harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

The Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board meets Wednesday in closed session to discuss what members were told when Ken Kratz resigned and whether they can share that with the public.

Kratz resigned after he was caught sending 30 text messages to a 26-year-old woman trying to start an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend. He has said he told the board about the messages and resigned in disgrace.

His lawyer says Kratz will step down as Calumet County district attorney in the coming days.

The board can sanction officials who mistreat victims and has come under fire for inaction against Kratz.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 27, 2010 --- 11:40 a.m.

UPDATE from the Governor's Office: Until Governor Doyle has Kratz’s resignation letter in hand, he will continue with the removal process.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for the Wisconsin prosecutor who acknowledged sending sexually harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim says the DA will resign his office.

Attorney Robert Craanen said Monday that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz will step down before Oct. 8, the date for a hearing on his possible removal from office.

Gov. Jim Doyle appointed former Kenosha County District Attorney Bob Jambois to oversee a rarely used process to try to remove Kratz from office.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation also planned to reopen its misconduct investigation against Kratz. The agency closed the case in March without disciplining Kratz, saying the text messages were inappropriate, but not professional misconduct.

But officials there changed their minds amid pressure from lawmakers and others to explain why they failed to sanction Kratz.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 27, 2010 --- 11:35 a.m.

Alert from the AP wire service:

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- Attorney says Wisconsin prosecutor who sent sexually suggestive texts will resign by Oct. 8

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UPDATED Monday, September 27, 2010 --- 6:30 a.m.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- The man who will oversee removal proceedings against a prosecutor who sent suggestive text messages to a domestic abuse victim is holding a hearing Monday.

Former Kenosha County District Attorney Bob Jambois scheduled a status conference at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton.

Gov. Jim Doyle appointed Jambois using a rarely used process to try to remove Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz from office.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation also noted last week that it plans to reopen its misconduct investigation against Kratz. The agency closed the case in March without disciplining Kratz, saying the text messages were inappropriate, but not professional misconduct.

But officials there changed their minds amid pressure from lawmakers and others to explain why they failed to sanction Kratz.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 24, 2010 --- 11:25 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board is staying mum on its handling of news that its former chairman sent inappropriate text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

During a meeting Friday, the board decided it could not discuss what Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz told members when he resigned as chairman in December and how they responded.

Kratz has said he candidly described his inappropriate behavior toward Stephanie Van Groll when he resigned from the board.

Board lawyer Bruce Olsen said Friday that conversation happened during a closed session. He said the board needs to call another meeting to decide whether it can discuss the issue because it was not on Friday's agenda.

The board met in closed session Friday after a contentious session with a pack of reporters.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 24, 2010 --- 10:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The agency that regulates attorneys in Wisconsin says it plans to reopen a misconduct investigation against a prosecutor who sent racy text messages to a crime victim.

The Office of Lawyer Regulation said Friday it's able to reopen grievances when new information is presented.

OLR director Keith Sellen says it's received "substantial" new information about allegations against Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

Pressure had built for regulators to explain why they failed to sanction Kratz, who admitted sending sexually charged text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

The agency closed the case in March without disciplining Kratz, saying the text messages were inappropriate, but not professional misconduct.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 24, 2010 --- 9:55 a.m.

Alert from AP Wire Service:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wis. board reopens probe into prosecutor who sent racy text messages to abuse victim.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 24, 2010 --- 9:05 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Jim Doyle's office is promising to fill its vacancy on the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board.

The board meets Friday to regroup after a scandal involving its former longtime chairman, Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

Since news broke last week that Kratz sent harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim, the board has been without leaders, has only four of five members and is facing questions over its handling of the case.

The board can sanction public officials who mistreat crime victims. Its members include two appointed by the attorney general, and one by the district attorneys' association, a crime victims' group and the governor.

The governor's spot has been vacant for more than two months, but spokesman Adam Collins says he expects an appointment soon.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 23, 2010 --- 4:10 p.m.

Press Release from the Attorney General's Office:

ATTORNEY GENERAL VAN HOLLEN SEEKS INFORMATION ON KRATZ MISCONDUCT

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice has been assigned the responsibility of prosecuting the case involving Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz. The allegations under investigation are that Kratz sent inappropriate text messages to crime victims and other persons in the course of his official duties as Calumet County District Attorney. In order to fully investigate the present allegations, or those as yet unknown, the Wisconsin Department of Justice seeks the assistance of any other persons who may have had questionable encounters in the past with Mr. Kratz.

Persons with information relating to any illegal activity, sexual harassment, or other professional misconduct by Mr. Kratz are asked to call the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation at 608-266-1671 and advise that they have information pertaining to this investigation.

Individuals will not be required to identify themselves and will have the opportunity to discuss the extent to which information they provide may or may not be kept confidential by Department of Justice investigators.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 23, 2010 --- 3:24 p.m.

Press Release from the Attorney General's Office:

ATTORNEY GENERAL VAN HOLLEN APPOINTS ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM STORM TO PROSECUTE REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST DISTRICT ATTORNEY KEN KRATZ

MADISON – Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today the appointment of Assistant Attorney General Tom Storm to prosecute the removal proceedings against District Attorney Ken Kratz. The appointment was made in response to a request from Robert Jambois, the commissioner appointed by Governor Doyle. AAG Storm’s role will be to gather and present evidence to support Kratz’s removal.

AAG Tom Storm serves as the Director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The MFCU comprises 3 attorneys, 8 investigator/auditors and 2 clerical support staff in its responsibility to investigate and prosecute health care providers that defraud Wisconsin’s $6 billion Medicaid program as well as abuse and neglect of nursing home residents.

Previously, AAG Storm served as the Fond du Lac County (Wisconsin) District Attorney from 1991 to 2007 where he was responsible for the prosecution of state criminal laws and child protective service matters in a county of 100,000. AAG Storm has personally litigated over 150 jury trials to verdict, including 16 homicides.

From 1988 to 1991 Storm served as the Fond du Lac County Corporation Counsel where he provided legal counsel and services to county officials and departments as well as representation of the county in civil litigation.

AAG Storm was the Assistant Legal Counsel to Governor Lee Dreyfus in 1982. He received his law degree in 1981 from Valparaiso University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Tom Storm is supremely qualified for this role. Through his current position, and as an elected District Attorney, Tom has worked with vulnerable victims and has developed a strong sense of how prosecutors should conduct themselves. He has earned the respect of those who work within the legal system and will insure that the evidence against Mr. Kratz is presented fairly and effectively,” said Attorney General Van Hollen.

Attorney General Van Hollen’s letter appointing Storm to prosecute the removal proceedings is available at

http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/Ltr_to_Atty_Jambois.pdf.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 23, 2010 --- 2:41 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A member of the board that monitors fairness in Wisconsin's lawyer regulation system is defending its inaction against the prosecutor who "sexted" a crime victim.

Kenosha lawyer Terry Rose said the Office of Lawyer Regulation should not revisit its decision to clear Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

Rose said Kratz's text messages seeking to kindle an affair with a domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend were poor judgment but not an ethics violation. He said that's in part because the woman technically was a witness, not his client.

Rose said voters should oust Kratz if they are upset but regulators shouldn't cave in to a "lynch mob mentality."

Rose is a member of the Board of Administrative Oversight, which safeguards the integrity of the lawyer regulation system.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 23, 2010 --- 11:29 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two victims' advocacy groups are calling on regulators to explain why they failed to discipline a prosecutor caught sending racy text messages to an abuse victim.

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault made the request Thursday in a letter to the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

OLR has been silent for days on its handling of an investigation into Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

In December, Kratz gave the office text messages he sent a woman while prosecuting her ex-boyfriend in which he tried to start an affair and called her a "hot nymph."

An investigator closed the case without a formal review in March, saying the behavior was inappropriate but didn't appear to be an ethics violation.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 23, 2010 --- 10:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for a domestic abuse victim who received sexually harassing text messages from a prosecutor says she's willing to testify at his removal hearing.

Michael Fox, the attorney for Stephanie Van Groll, says his client has also promised to cooperate if legal regulators reopen their ethics investigation into Ken Kratz.

Gov. Jim Doyle has started the process to remove the Calumet County district attorney over alleged misconduct toward at least three women.

Kratz has acknowledged sending Van Groll 30 text messages while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge, trying to start an affair and calling her a "hot nymph."

The Office of Lawyer Regulation is under pressure to re-examine the case after finding in March the messages were not professional misconduct.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 --- 9:40 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

Tonight an official complaint is the first step in the removal process against the Calumet County DA accused of sending sexually suggestive text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

The murder of a Madison woman may ultimately be responsible for pushing DA Ken Kratz out of office.

In December Tracy Judd and her daughter were killed by her boyfriend.

Tonight her sister and friend (who filed the complaint) say victims of domestic violence like Judd shouldn't have to go to someone like Kratz for help.

Heather Severson says, "She was wonderful, great mother, great friend, great laugh and she will be missed."

Severson fights back tears remembering her lifelong friend Tracy Judd.

In December Judd and her daughter Deja Rena were found dead in the trunk of a car in Middleton, killed by Judd's boyfriend.

It was an act of domestic violence that while not related, is now pushing Severson to file the first official complaint against Calumet County DA Ken Kratz.

She says, "It's a little hard to take that he would use someones misfortune for his own personal gain. Being in the position that he's in it's very disturbing and something needs to be done."

Kratz has admitted to sending sexually suggestive text messages to a domestic abuse victim whom he was supposed to be helping.

Severson filed today's complaint because she says it's the kind of behavior that prevents victims like Judd from coming forward.

Judd's sister, Lisa Blanchard, says victims have a hard enough time coming forward already.

She says, "Who are they going to trust? Victims need to know there are people out there. They aren't all like Mr. Kratz."

Since the murder Blanchard has been on a crusade to help domestic violence victims including speaking with District Attorneys and says if it takes her sister's memory to help get Kratz out of office it's worth it.

She says, "It's not necessarily to keep their memory alive because we don't want it attached to something like this but it's to speak out to victims who are afraid or who can't because they're no longer here."

A sister and friend, taking the alleged behavior of Kratz personally.

Since the murder of Judd her sister has been working to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to come forward.

She says if Kratz isn't removed from office it will be like taking 10 steps backwards.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 22, 2010 --- 6:50 p.m.

Update from the Governor's Office:

Status Update on DA Kratz Removal Proceedings
Jambois Sets Scheduling Conference for Monday in Chilton

MADISON – Attorney Robert J. Jambois has scheduled a status/scheduling conference for Monday, September 27, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. The conference will take place in Room 115, Courtroom #2, Calumet County Courthouse, 206 Court Street, Chilton, Wisconsin and is open to the public.

Governor Jim Doyle has appointed Jambois, the former Kenosha County District Attorney, to serve as commissioner of the removal proceedings regarding Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

NOTE: The status/scheduling conference is not the hearing on the removal charges. Details on the time and location of the hearing on the removal charges will be forthcoming.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 22, 2010 --- 2:35 p.m.

NOTE: To read the complaints, click on the DOCUMENTS ABOVE.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Jim Doyle says he has received the complaint needed to begin the process to remove a prosecutor accused of abusing his power to seek relationships with women.

Doyle appointed former Kenosha County District Attorney Bob Jambois to oversee the removal proceedings against Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

He said Kratz is being notified of the charges against him and a public hearing where Kratz could defend himself would be scheduled soon.

After the hearing, Jambois would make a report to the governor, who would make a final decision on removal.

The governor must find cause to remove Kratz, which is defined as "inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct, or malfeasance in office."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 22, 2010 --- 2:25 p.m.

Press Release from the Governor's Office:
Governor Doyle Announces Next Steps in Removal Process for DA Ken Kratz

MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle today announced he has received a verified complaint against Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz from a County resident, and he is moving forward with the removal process.

“Today I received a verified complaint against DA Kratz and I have begun the process to remove him from office,” Governor Doyle said. “As a former three-term District Attorney and a former three-term Attorney General I have worked hard to protect victims of crime, and I am deeply troubled by the accounts of DA Kratz’s actions. I want every crime victim, particularly those of sensitive crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse to know they can go into a police station or a prosecutor’s office and be treated in a professional and respectful manner.”

Kratz is being notified of the charges against him, and has a legal right to be heard. A public hearing on the charges will be held. Further details on the time and location of the public hearing will be forthcoming.

Governor Doyle has appointed former Kenosha County District Attorney Bob Jambois to serve as commissioner of the proceedings. Following the public hearing, Jambois will make a report to the Governor. Governor Doyle retains the sole power to remove the District Attorney from office.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 22, 2010 --- 12:56 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin lawmaker is calling for an audit of the office that oversees attorney conduct after it declined to discipline a prosecutor who sexually harassed a crime victim.

Rep. Terese Berceau said Wednesday she has "serious concerns" that the Office of Lawyer Regulation goes too light on lawyers who engage in misconduct.

In a letter to the Legislature's audit committee, the Madison Democrat said she wants a review of how the office handled the case against Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz. She said she also wants auditors to compare Wisconsin's rates of lawyer discipline to other states.

An OLR investigator closed the case against Kratz in March, saying his text messages to a domestic abuse victim were inappropriate but not professional misconduct.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 22, 2010 --- 10:05 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for a Wisconsin prosecutor accused of abusing his power to seek relationships says women who have come forward since the first allegations were reported are "driven by financial opportunity."

Robert Craanen, who represents Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he wouldn't be surprised if more women go on national television to level similar accusations against his client.

Craanen says Kratz feels bad about sending harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim while prosecuting her ex-boyfriend.

But he says two other women who have since come forward making similar complaints have done so to take advantage of "financial opportunities." He has denied one of the woman's claims and is investigating the other's.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 21, 2010 --- 4:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An aide to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants regulators to revisit their ethics investigation into a district attorney accused of "sexting" a crime victim.

In a letter Tuesday, Department of Justice official Kevin Potter said the original investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation into prosecutor Ken Kratz appears flawed.

Under pressure from Justice, Kratz reported to the office in December he sent text messages to a domestic abuse victim seeking a relationship while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend.

An investigator closed the case without taking action, saying Kratz's behavior was inappropriate but didn't violate rules governing attorney conduct.

Potter says OLR should review again whether Kratz violated several rules that "may be relevant."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 21, 2010 --- 12:25 p.m.

Release from the Attorney General's office:

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Department of Justice will function as prosecutor in anticipated removal proceedings against Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.

Governor James Doyle announced yesterday that he expects a complaint for Kratz’s removal will be filed with his office soon. According to Wisconsin Statutes § 17.16(3), a verified complaint must be brought “by a resident taxpayer” of Calumet County to initiate removal proceedings.

District Attorneys may only be removed by the Governor “for cause,” which is defined by statute to mean “inefficiency, neglect of duty, official misconduct, or malfeasance in office.”

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 21, 2010 --- 12:19 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A law student says a Wisconsin prosecutor under fire for sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim sent her similar texts in 2008 after agreeing to help her seek a pardon.

Maria Ruskiewicz told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she met Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz in his office in 2008 to discuss a decade-old drug conviction. Afterward, she says Kratz sent her text messages that soon turned harassing, including one that asked how she would please him in bed.

An Oklahoma City University of Law administrator confirmed that Ruskiewicz was so upset by the messages that they met in 2008 to discuss how to respond. A Wisconsin prosecutor also says Ruskiewicz told him last year about Kratz's conduct.

Kratz's lawyer says he doesn't know anything about the case.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 21, 2010 --- 11:17 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The lawyer for a Wisconsin prosecutor says allegations that he invited a woman on a date to an autopsy are "completely bogus."

Bob Craanen, the attorney for Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, says Kratz did go on a date with the woman in January and did get a call about an autopsy at dinner.

The woman complained to Gov. Jim Doyle's office that Kratz invited her to a woman's autopsy "provided I act as his girlfriend and would wear high heels and a skirt." She says he also shared confidential details about the investigation.

Craanen says the woman never complained at the time and is "coming out of the woodwork now." He says Kratz has acknowledged sending inappropriate text messages seeking an affair with a crime victim, but flat out denies the autopsy invitation.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 21, 2010 --- 6:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle made a long political career as a no-nonsense prosecutor standing up for victims.

Now, the lame-duck governor now must deal with what to do about a district attorney who sent racy text message to a domestic abuse victim.

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.

Doyle is a former district attorney and attorney general who leaves the governor's office in January.

Kratz has acknowledged sending 30 text messages in three days last year to a woman while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend in an abuse case.

Doyle says he's deeply troubled by what happened.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 20, 2010 --- 4:15 p.m.

By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Jim Doyle says he will start the process to remove a prosecutor caught sending sexually-harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim as soon as he gets a proper complaint.

At a news conference in Madison, Doyle said he was appalled by Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz's behavior and he would move to have him removed from office. He says he first needs to get a "verified complaint" from a taxpayer in Calumet County. The abuse victim does not live in that county.

Kratz has acknowledged sending 30 text messages in three days last year to a woman while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend in an abuse case. He apologized and went on medical leave Monday, but has refused to resign.

Wisconsin governors have the power to remove county officials like Kratz for cause. The Legislative Reference Bureau says it is not aware of any other cases where that has happened.

His attorney says he plans to contest his removal.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 20, 2010 --- 3:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's governor says he'll start the process to remove a prosecutor caught sending sexually-harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim as soon as he gets a proper complaint.

At a news conference Monday in Madison, Wis., Gov. Jim Doyle said he was appalled by Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz's behavior. He says he first needs to get a "verified complaint" from a taxpayer in Calumet County. The abuse victim does not live in that county.

Kratz has acknowledged sending 30 text messages in three days last year to a woman while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend in an abuse case. He apologized and went on medical leave but has refused to resign.

Wisconsin governors have the power to remove county officials like Kratz for cause.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 20, 2010 --- 3:40 p.m.

News Alert from the AP News Wire: MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says he will try to remove prosecutor who "sexted' abuse victim.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 20, 2010 --- 11:55 a.m.

By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin prosecutor told a domestic abuse victim he was considering a lesser charge against her ex-boyfriend before sending her text messages trying to start a relationship.

Stephanie Van Groll told investigators that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz asked whether she minded if he reduced the charge against her ex from a felony to a misdemeanor.

According to records obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, she responded during the conversation last October that strangulation was a felony.

Minutes after she left his office, Kratz started sending her a series of text messages in which he tried to start an affair.

Kratz and his attorney did not immediately return messages.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 20, 2010 --- 10:35 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for the Wisconsin prosecutor caught sending racy text messages says if anyone tries to remove his client from office, he would argue other district attorneys have done worse and kept their jobs.

Attorney Robert J. Craanen told The Associated Press Monday he would fight any attempts to kick Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz from his post.

Kratz acknowledged last week he sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim in three days.

Gov. Jim Doyle has said he was conferring with Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and reviewing the process for removal. If Doyle seeks to remove him for cause, Craanen says Kratz could contest the decision in a hearing.

Craanen says other district attorneys have committed more serious misconduct related to withholding evidence and kept their jobs.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, September 20, 2010 --- 9:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin district attorney caught sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim is going on medical leave.

In a press release Monday, Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz said the length of the leave has not been determined.

The news comes after Kratz said Friday he would get therapy and take personal time off as the court calendar allows. But he also said he would be handling a sexual assault trial that was set to begin Wednesday and rejected calls from lawmakers and victims' advocates to resign.

Kratz's leave means his office will be down to one prosecutor, Jeffrey Froehlich.

Kratz acknowledged last week he sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim in three days. Kratz said he has hired attorney Robert J. Craanen to represent him.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Saturday, September 18, 2010 --- 7:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin district attorney says he'll get therapy and consider taking time off work but won't resign over sexually tinged text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

At a news conference Friday, Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz offered a "sincere and heartfelt apology not only to the young woman but to everyone who has been so deeply affected by this lack of judgment."

But Kratz left without taking questions and didn't respond to calls for his resignation. He said only he would consider taking personal time off work as the court calendar will allow.

Kratz says the 30 text messages he sent to the woman "showed a lack of respect." In one, he asked whether she was "the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, September 17, 2010 --- 2:10 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A spokesman says Gov. Jim Doyle is "very surprised and shocked" by news that a district attorney sent sexually tinged text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

Doyle spokesman Adam Collins says the governor believes the reports about Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz are "shocking and troubling" and should be taken seriously.

Collins says Doyle will be in contact with Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to discuss "all options" to take action against Kratz.

Those options include starting the process to remove him from office. Collins would not say whether that action would be taken as some have urged.

Kratz said earlier Friday he does not intend to resign and believes he is the victim of "a smear campaign."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 17, 2010 --- 12:25 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin District Attorneys' Association is putting pressure on its former president to step down over inappropriate text messages to a crime victim.

The association's board on Friday approved a letter calling Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz's behavior repugnant and "inconsistent with the standards of our profession."

The group of local district attorneys says such behavior would get anyone in their offices fired, and that Kratz should reflect on his conduct and take the appropriate action.

Alternatively, the group says it will ask Gov. Jim Doyle to consider removing him from office.

Kratz said earlier Friday he has no plans to resign and he would be surprised if the group admonished him since he's never seen a similar action in its history. He was president of the association in 1996.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 17, 2010 --- 11:10 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin prosecutor caught sending text messages to a domestic abuse victim is rejecting growing calls to resign and says he's the victim of a "smear campaign."

Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz says he only cares about the opinion of local voters, who will get to decide whether he should stay in office.

He says Wisconsin attorneys have done far worse and "haven't received near the attention or scrutiny that I have."

Kratz, a Republican, says he intends to run for re-election in November 2012.

He spoke in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, hours after a state lawmaker called on Gov. Jim Doyle to remove him from office.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, September 17, 2010 --- 9:10 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state lawmaker is calling on Gov. Jim Doyle to remove a Wisconsin prosecutor who sent inappropriate text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

Democratic Rep. Fred Kessler of Milwaukee, a former judge, says Doyle should appoint an investigator to look into Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz's behavior.

If the allegations of sexually harassing text messages to the woman are true, Kessler says Kratz should be removed from office.

Kratz, a Republican, said Wednesday he intends to run for re-election in 2012.

Meanwhile, the state's largest newspaper is calling for his resignation in an editorial published Friday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says voters should recall him from office if he does not step aside.

The paper says Kratz "has proven himself unfit for the job."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 16, 2010 --- 1:51 p.m.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- The director of the Midwest Domestic Violence Resource Center says a Wisconsin prosecutor who sent sexually harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim should resign.

Darald Hanusa says Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz abused his power and violated the victim's trust. He says that "if he is capable of doing this once, he is capable of repeating the behavior."

Hanusa says he's seen other cases where an attorney takes advantage of a battered woman by inappropriately befriending her and starting "where their abusive partners left off."

Kratz has called the messages a lapse of judgment, but says he plans to run for re-election in November 2012.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 16, 2010 --- 10:45 a.m.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin prosecutor who sent sexually suggestive text messages to a domestic abuse victim tried to keep the matter from the public, his peers and state regulators.

E-mail messages obtained by The Associated Press show Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz even unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a settlement with state officials to avoid "public disclosure" of the case.

The e-mails show Kratz at first resisted resigning as chairman of the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board or reporting his conduct to the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

He resigned from the board only after Wisconsin Department of Justice officials threatened to share the text messages he sent to the 26-year-old woman with the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association.

The e-mails were obtained by The Associated Press through the state open records law.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, September 16, 2010 --- 6:50 a.m.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin prosecutor known as an advocate for crime victims says he's embarrassed about sending sexually suggestive text messages to a strangulation victim.

But Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz said Wednesday that he won't be leaving office.

Kratz issued that statement after The Associated Press reported on the 30 texts he sent to 26-year-old Stephanie Van Groll in October 2009. She complained to police about the texts last year.

At the time, Kratz was prosecuting Van Groll's ex-boyfriend on charges he nearly choked her to death.

He also was veteran chair of the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board, which can reprimand judges, prosecutors and police officers who mistreat crime victims.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2010 --- 1:37 p.m.

CHILTON, Wis. (AP) -- Police say a prominent Wisconsin district attorney sent repeated text messages trying to spark an affair with a domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend.

The 26-year-old woman complained last year to police after receiving 30 texts from Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz in three days.

A police report obtained by The Associated Press shows one message from the 50-year-old Kratz asked whether the woman was "the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA." In several others, he talks about her good looks and his desire to start a relationship.

Kratz on Wednesday didn't deny sending the messages but said the Office of Lawyer Regulation had found his behavior didn't violate rules governing attorney conduct.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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