GREEN BAY, Wisc. (CN) - A domestic abuse victim claims the district attorney solicited her for sex while prosecuting the man who tried to strangle her. She claims Kenneth Kratz, who resigned as Calumet County district attorney two weeks ago and resigned as chairman of the Wisconsin Crime Victims Rights Board in September, texted her 30 times and urged her to have a sexual relationship with him, "the riskier the better." The case has created a media firestorm in Wisconsin.
Plaintiff S.V., 26, seeks damages from Kratz, the sole defendant, alleging abuse of power and constitutional violations.
In her federal complaint, S.V. says she relied on Kratz to protect her while she cooperated in the prosecution of her ex-boyfriend, who she says suffocated and strangled her nearly to death.
When she "did not respond favorably or promptly" to Kratz's request "to have a sexual relationship with him which he characterized as 'the riskier the better,'" she says, "Kratz chided her stating, 'Hey.. Miss Communication, what's the sticking point? Your low self-esteem and you fear you can't play in my big sandbox? Or???'
"In a text message following the preceding communication, Kratz emphasized 'I'm serious! I'm the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph but I am the prize! Start convincing,'" according to the complaint.
The complaint continues: "As the elected District Attorney for Calumet County at the time he sent the text messages described above, defendant Kratz had no formal supervisor or formal supervisory structure that monitored his job activities. He was, in essence, his own superior authority, directly answerable to no one for his actions."
S.V. says she was reluctant to go to the police because she had suffered years of abuse, and Kratz had told her he had the power to protect her, to influence her abuser's sentence and release conditions, and "that she was protected from harm or threats of harm arising out of her cooperation with law enforcement."
Instead, she says, Kratz used his position of power to take advantage of her vulnerability.
She says that "after anguishing over the messages sent to her by Kratz," she reported him to the Kaukauna Police, "as she feared further contact with Kratz and Calumet County."
The complaint continues: "The police reported the conduct of Kratz to the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice which undertook a criminal investigation of Kratz and found no criminal wrongdoing.
"Given the conflict of interest created by Kratz in having solicited a sexual relationship with a domestic abuse victim/witness during the course of a prosecution, Kratz was forced to withdraw from further prosecuting the case against S.K. and the prosecution was handled by an assistant attorney general from the Department of Justice.
"As a result of her experience with Kratz, S.V. insisted that she not be required to attend any proceeding in Calumet County related to the prosecution of S.K.
"On a plea of no contest S.K. was convicted of strangulation and suffocation of S.V. on April 5, 2010."
S.V. says that as a result of the police report, and the report to the state Department of Justice, despite its finding of no criminal wrongdoing, "Kratz was urged to voluntarily remove himself from the Crime Victims Rights Board, a board for which he held the position of Chairman."
He resisted at first and held a news conference at the Calumet County Courthouse announcing he would not resign. But when a news reporter obtained the emails he allegedly sent to S.V., public scandal erupted, and Wisconsin media began referring to Kratz as "the sexting D.A."
Three days after Kratz's press conference, Wisconsin's Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told The Daily Page, "His behavior was appalling."
The Associated Press reported: "Kratz also is facing potential sanctions from the state Office of Lawyer Regulation, which reopened its investigation amid a barrage of criticism over its earlier finding that the text messages were not misconduct."
S.V. says she is not the only one who suffered from Kratz's sexual harassment.
"The illicit conduct alleged herein is part of a pattern of illegal discrimination that began at least ten years prior to the incident involving S.V., when Kratz made similar unwelcome harmful sexual advances over a period of months directed at a female victim/witness in a case where he was responsible for prosecuting the woman's husband for violent domestic abuse," according to the complaint.
"In the incident described in the preceding paragraph, Kratz touted his connections with powerful people and stated that he could have a dominatrix from Chicago with whom he was familiar train the victim/witness to be more submissive to his advances."
The Associated Press reported that four other women have come forward with allegations of Kratz's inappropriate behavior.
In addition to the harassment from Kratz, S.V. says, because of all the hoopla surrounding the investigation her privacy has been invaded and Kratz has inflicted upon her and her family a "high degree of humiliation, anxiety and distress."
She is represented by Michael Fox of Monona, who told the Associated Press that "the lawsuit aims to strengthen and clarify the rights of crime victims in Wisconsin."
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