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Prosecutor Accused of 'Sexting' Abuse Victim

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on September 17, 2010 1:27 PM

A Chilton, Wisconsin prosecutor is accused of a sexting scandal with a domestic abuse victim. District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a series inappropriate text messages that could have cost him the case, and his job.

According to MSNBC, Kratz sent over thirty sexually suggestive text messages to the 26 year-old abuse victim in a case he was assigned to prosecute. The three day sexting barrage was in an effort to start a relationship with a women who was fresh off a very, very bad relationship. Telling her several times she is "hot" or referring to her as a "tall, young, hot nymph," the 50 year-old Kratz originally denied that his texts were sexual in nature. The victim, Shannon Van Groll, felt otherwise. Van Groll reported the sexting to the police, but was worried that Kratz would drop the case against her ex-boyfriend if she did not respond to his advances. MSNBC quotes spokesman Tony Gibart: "His actions were more than a lapse in judgment. They in fact do have far reaching implications for victim safety and public safety."

Kratz was prosecuting Van Groll's ex-boyfriend on felony strangulation charges. The sexting amounts to a form of sexual harassment, however the state Office of Lawyer Regulation for Wisconsin concluded that the inappropriate behavior did not amount to misconduct. Kratz has, however, reluctantly stepped down from his position as chairman of the Wisconsin Crime Victims Rights Board. Kratz has no plans to resign the District Attorneys office.

In the end, Kratz won the case and kept his job, but tarnished his reputation. Unfortunately for Kenneth Kratz, Van Groll saved all of the sexts, many of which have now been made public by various news outlets. Taking advantage of a vulnerable crime victim may not amount to a matter requiring legal discipline in the eyes of Wisconsin, but Kenneth Kratz has certainly received his share of public scorn for his sextcapades.

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