By DINESH RAMDE
WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — State Rep. Bill Kramer, a former Assembly majority leader, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he groped a woman’s breasts following a Republican fundraiser.
Kramer, a Republican, is charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault. During a six-minute hearing in Waukesha County he waived his preliminary hearing, and defense attorney Eduardo Borda entered the not-guilty pleas on his behalf.
Borda also asked Court Commissioner Thomas Pieper to modify the terms of Kramer’s bond. At a hearing last month, Pieper had ordered Kramer not to have contact with any establishment that serves alcohol.
Borda said the order was confusing because it could be interpreted to mean Kramer couldn’t go to a grocery store, restaurant or Milwaukee Brewers game.
“For Mother’s Day he had to go to Denny’s. As much as we all love going to Denny’s … he had to take his mother there for fear that he might be in violation of his bail conditions,” Borda said.
Pieper agreed to modify the bail language. Kramer is now barred from establishments whose primary purpose is to serve alcohol.
Kramer has represented Waukesha, a conservative city in southeastern Wisconsin, since 2007. He was elected the Assembly’s majority leader in September but Republicans removed him from the chamber’s second-most powerful position in March, after media reports of allegations that he sexually harassed a lobbyist and a Wisconsin legislative staffer the previous month.
After those allegations were revealed, another woman said Kramer harassed her as well during an event in Muskego three years ago. Those allegations led to the criminal charges.
After the hearing, Kramer walked away down a hallway in silence, ignoring questions.
Kramer has acknowledged to investigators that he kissed the woman good night but he denied groping her. He also said he’d been friends with the woman and that she had made a pass at him in 2008, an allegation Borda has suggested could end up playing a prominent role in the defense.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 18.