Embattled Kratz trying to survive

Now, the 50-year-old Kratz is in the media spotlight again — but not for his accomplishments. He is being panned and derided locally and beyond for sending repeated text messages trying to spark an affair with a 25-year-old domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend last October.

Domestic abuse officials are bitterly disappointed, state lawmakers are calling for him to be fired, and the legal community is questioning why a veteran, high-profile prosecutor would act so recklessly.

“It’s a tawdry action by someone who should know better,” said Gregory O’Meara, an associate professor of law at Marquette University in Milwaukee. “This was just an extraordinarily bad idea. You wonder what the conditions are that makes this possible. How does someone think this is an OK thing to do?”

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Kratz offered an apology for his disrespectful actions and said he was undergoing psychotherapy. But, he said he planned to continue serving as the county’s top prosecutor, a post he has held since 1992.

“I’m embarrassed and ashamed for the choices I made,” said Kratz, who took no questions after making a four-minute statement Friday at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton. “Protecting the rights of crime victims has been my life’s work.”

“The honorable thing to do under the circumstances would be to resign,” said Waring Fincke, a defense attorney from West Bend and former president of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. “When you’re supposed to be an advocate for victims, I just think this crosses the line.”

Fincke said Kratz’s admitted pursuit of a relationship with the victim of domestic violence whose ex-boyfriend he was prosecuting is the “kind of gaffe” that will have “an impact on the credibility the lawyer brings to the courtroom in respect to the judges and opposing counsel.”

“Time will tell,” Fincke said. “The voters will ultimately have to decide on Mr. Kratz’s fate as an elected official.”

The next election for Calumet County district attorney is in 2012.

“I don’t know how people will respond to him continuing on,” said Alice Connors, a Calumet County board supervisor from Chilton who worked closely with Kratz, including serving together on the county’s Criminal Justice Stakeholders Committee. “He’s a state employee, an elected official so the county really has no recourse (to discipline Kratz).”

Connors said Kratz admitting he “made a mistake, has apologized and is seeking help, is a credit to him.”

“He’s a very, very good prosecutor and he’s done well in Calumet County with the cases he’s prosecuted,” Connors said. “I think he’s done well in the 25 years that he’s been here.”

Appleton Police Lt. Pat Geenen said Kratz was “competent and professional” during Geenen’s nine-year stint as a supervisor in the detective division.

“He was competent, there’s no doubt about that, in terms of his prosecution skills,” Geenen said. “The latest allegations make things a little different.” (Source: Post Crescent)

Go to the source for the rest.

The ultimate question in addition to “what was he thinking,” is should he resign?  At the very least one would think any future political aspirations are done thanks to the way he has tarnished what was a stellar image.

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