Convoluted Brian

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Calumet County Prosecutor Ken Kratz Tries to Bully a Reporter

The Appleton, WI, based newspaper, the Post~Crescent, released a recording of an attempted interview of Ken Kratz by an Associated Press (AP) reporter. On 15 September, 2010 Ryan Foley interviewed Kratz about his attempt to seduce a witness.

The matter is from October and November, 2009, when Calumet County District Attorney Kratz sent over twenty text messages to Stephanie Van Groll. The messages were an attempt to bully Van Groll into a sexual relationship and gained Kratz the title of the sexting prosecutor.

Van Groll was a witness and the victim in a strangulation trial. Kratz had suggested to Van Groll that he was considering reducing charges against the perpetrator. He started texting her to tell her that he wanted to be helpful.

After the text messages escalated in tone and demand, Van Groll reported the behavior to the Kaukauna, WI Police Department. The police referred the case to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), headed by Attorney General JB Van Hollen. The DOJ whitewashed the incident.

Around September, 2010, someone tipped off the AP and that was the beginning of the end for Kratz. First, Kratz announced that he refused to resign. Governor Jim Doyle scheduled removal hearings and Kratz, who had self‑committed to a treatment program, resigned.

Van Hollen blamed others when it was his department that gave Kratz a sweetheart deal that included remaining silent. Kratz manipulated the process and was dishonest in his self‑reporting to other entities.

The recording shows that Kratz was fully expecting to continue manipulating the process and the reporter. He was not going to answer any questions. He wanted one answer and his posturing through the session was an attempt to obtain that answer.

Kratz wanted the name of the person who tipped the AP about the coverup at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Ironically, Kratz was insistent that the information was leaked at the direction of Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen although, it was Van Hollen’s department that agreed with the proposals of Kratz at the time of the investigation in 2009.

Kratz began the interview by attempting to steer the reporter, Ryan Foley, away from the heart of the matter. Whenever Foley asked Kratz about the appropriateness of his attempt to seduce a witness, who was also a victim, Kratz stated he would not answer that.

Kratz wanted to know what the Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) said about the matter knowing full well that the OLR had not released the results of his self‑reporting. He gave the information to the OLR that had cleared him of wrongdoing. He did not state that the complaint to the OLR was a self‑report and that he was dishonest about the details.

Kratz continued attempts to have Foley reveal the source of the information. Kratz claimed that this was not news and that Foley was fed a story. Kratz attempted further manipulation of Foley, acting like the corrupt prosecutor that he was, “Let’s see how honest you’re going to be with me.” Then Kratz stated that the DOJ was behind an attempt to smear him.

Kratz continued doing most of the talking. Attempts by Foley to get Kratz to admit to inappropriate behaviors were stonewalled. The reporter was able to state that Kratz was the interviewee, not the interviewer. Foley stated that he had the police reports and the statement of the person Kratz attempted to victimize. Kratz responded by claiming the reporter was willingly being used. At one point Kratz claimed that Foley was on the payroll of someone who wanted Kratz ousted.

Kratz said he was the Chairman of the Crime Victims Rights Board (CVRB), but neglected to say that he had been forced to speak with the board about his behavior. Of course, he was not candid with the members of the board. He reluctantly resigned his chairmanship rather than fess up. Kratz claimed he wrote the law on Criminal Victims. He praised his past performances and said that this would be a terrible thing to print because he was such a great guy. He minimized his crime by saying that just a simple allegation can destroy a local prosecutor.

In 2006, Kratz had no problem making a televised performance when he gave an uncorroborated blow by blow description of how Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery had murdered Teresa Halbach. The whole point of Kratz going after Dassey was to remove an alibi witness from testifying in the Avery trial. The evidence that would have corroborated the Dassey confession was not found or not gathered. When it fit the goals of Kratz, he was all for making any statement that would help his own agenda. He had no problem in destroying Dassey to get a conviction.

At the end of the interview things became interesting. Earlier Kratz had mentioned Van Hollen as the person behind the leak. Kratz’ questioned, “What personally happened to between Ken and JB Van Hollen? … Do you know the history? Do you know why JB Van Hollen wants this run?”

I would like to know what specifically Kratz had in mind when he insisted that Van Hollen was after him. Obviously, Van Hollen was willing to cover the mess up. The Wisconsin Justice Department allowed Kratz to dictate the terms for the resolution of his illegal behavior. Van Hollen allowed Kratz to self‑report to the OLR with no oversight. Of course, Kratz gave a report that minimized his behavior and intimated that his victim was a willing participant and reported because her mother made her do so.

Kratz’s bad acts go well beyond this case that finally was made public. His conniving goes well beyond attempted coercing people into sex with him. But, I don’t see Van Hollen taking a close look at the history of Ken Kratz. Van Hollen would rather the innocent sit in prison and perpetrators go free.

Kratz is not the only prosecutor in Wisconsin who runs wild. That needs to be addressed by the Wisconsin Legislature.

by Brian McCorkle
posted on 16 November, 2010 at 21:47 pm
in category Prosecutor Ken Kratz Scandal

Calumet County Prosecutor Ken Kratz blamed Attorney General JB Van Hollen for his downfall.

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