‘Sexting’ D.A to resign

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Teens have made “sexting” one of the most notorious portmanteaux ever created, almost as popular as “Brangelina” or “jorts.”  It’s become so popular that even the district attorney of Calumet County, Kenneth Kratz, partook in it.

Robert Craanen, Kratz’s attorney, announced Monday Kratz will resign from his position as D.A. after it was made public that he had sent sexually suggestive text messages to at least five of his clients.

Kratz announced last week that he was taking an indefinite medical leave. Craanen said the leave will include therapy for a “non-physical illness.”

A former client of Kratz, Stephanie Van Groll, began to receive “sexts” from Kratz last October.  Recently, four other women have accused Kratz of similar actions.

“You are beautiful and would make a great young partner someday.  But I won’t beg!” said one text message Kratz sent to Van Groll.

Text messages like these would be unprofessional in any situation involving a work atmosphere, but considering Kratz’s role as D.A. of Calumet County — a position that is supposed to defend victims of abuse — unprofessional may be an understatement.

Kratz was in a position of “extreme trust,” said Tom Kukowski, a professor of social and cultural sciences at Marquette, in an e-mail.

“By his own admission, he used ‘bad judgment,’” Kukowski said. “At this time, the actions of D.A. Kratz go far beyond ‘bad judgment.’ There appears to be a pattern of behavior that violates the sacred trust of women who are in an extremely vulnerable time in their lives.  These women needed guidance and support, not the focus of a misguided and overactive libido of a middle-aged male.”

Kratz, 50, sent the text messages to Van Groll after she had filed domestic abuse charges against her ex-boyfriend.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Alysa McGovern, a junior in the College of Health Sciences who lives just outside of Calumet County.  “How can I expect him to make a positive impact within the county when his own moral compass is so far off?”

Van Groll responded to several of Kratz’s texts in an effort to give him the cold shoulder.

“I think your wife would have something to say about that,” she wrote in response to one of his texts.

John McAdams, an associate professor of political science, questioned Kratz’s professionalism and ability to treat all of his clients equally.

“There is the fact that there is an unavoidable conflict of interest when he appears to be viewing women who have business with his office as sexual partners,” McAdams said. “It’s difficult to believe he can act in a fully professional way when his real agenda is to get this or that woman in the sack.

“It’s clear to me that he should not continue to be district attorney.”

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