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Sexting lawsuit against former prosecutor Ken Kratz settled

Calumet County's ex-DA was accused of harassing abuse victim

Feb. 13, 2013
 
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GREEN BAY — A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against a former Calumet County district attorney accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim, federal court records show.

Stephanie Van Groll accused former prosecutor Ken Kratz of sexual harassment for allegedly sending her a barrage of messages, including some propositioning her, while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend in 2009.

Kratz resigned as DA in 2010 after The Associated Press reported he had tried to spark an affair with the woman. More women later came forward and accused Kratz of sexual harassment.

No details of the settlement were released Tuesday. Van Groll was seeking unspecified damages in her lawsuit. The trial had been scheduled to begin next week in Green Bay.

Kratz, who was 50 when he sent the texts, called the then-25-year-old Van Groll a “hot nymph” and advertised himself as “the prize.” She reported the texts to police. State prosecutors declined to charge him, and she sued.

Kratz’s attorney, Ted Tornehl, and Van Groll’s attorney, Michael Fox, did not immediately respond to Wednesday phone messages from the AP seeking comment.

Kratz asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed in 2011, arguing the “flirtatious text messages” that he sent weren’t sufficient to support Van Groll’s assertion that her constitutional rights were violated.

Wisconsin’s Office of Lawyer Regulation recommended that the state Supreme Court suspend Kratz’s law license for six months. Kratz asked for just a formal reprimand, saying he had suffered enough, had been forced into bankruptcy and deserved a chance to rebuild his career. He testified at a hearing last year that he was addicted to sex and prescription drugs at the time. The court hasn’t issued a decision yet.

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