|Ken Kratz sent harassing text messages to an abuse victim.|
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s governor said yesterday that he will start the process to remove a prosecutor caught sending sexually harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim.
At a news conference, Governor Jim Doyle said he was appalled by the behavior of Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.
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 district attorneys and some other officials for cause.
Kratz, 50, went on medical leave yesterday and hired an attorney to help him keep his job.
According to criminal records, Kratz started sending the texts minutes after he told the 26-year-old woman, Stephanie Van Groll, that he was considering reducing the charge against her ex-boyfriend, a move she did not support.
Kratz’s attorney Robert J. Craanen said his client would have the option of contesting removal from office in a hearing. Craanen said he would argue that other district attorneys have committed more serious misconduct related to withholding evidence and kept their jobs.
At the time of the texts, Kratz was prosecuting Van Groll’s ex-boyfriend Shannon Konitzer for an alleged attempt to strangle her. She eventually got away and called police.
Van Groll told state investigators the DA’s text messages started coming after she met with Kratz to be interviewed about the case.
She said she thought it was odd he asked at the end of their conversation whether she would mind if he reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to the Division of Criminal Investigation records made public yesterday. She responded that attempting to strangle someone is a felony.