GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A federal sexual harassment lawsuit will continue against former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz.
Stephanie Van Groll is suing Kratz for sending her racy text messages while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend for domestic abuse in 2009. The 27-year-old claims Kratz violated her constitutional equal protection rights.
Kratz filed a motion this summer asking for the case to be dismissed. He argued the “flirtatious text messages” weren’t sufficient to support Van Groll’s assertion that her constitutional rights were violated. Kratz also argued he’s immune from prosecution because the texts were sent in his role as a public official.
U.S. District Judge William Griesbach, based in Green Bay, denied Kratz’s motion in a 23-page decision Monday. Griesbach said the evidence was sufficient to bring the case before a jury to determine whether Kratz intended to sexually harass Van Groll. As for immunity, Kratz “has not established that pressing (Van Groll) for a sexual relationship through inappropriate text messages is somehow a form of conduct so ‘intimately associated’ with legitimate prosecutorial functions,” Griesbach wrote.
Kratz’s attorney, Rob Bellin, told The Post-Crescent that he and Kratz will discuss whether to ask the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for a review.
Kratz, then 50, called the woman a “tall, young, hot nymph,” told her he wanted her to “be so hot” and touted himself as “the prize” with a $350,000 house, according to police. Kratz resigned as district attorney in October 2010, just days before a hearing that would have been part of Gov. Jim Doyle’s effort to force him from office.
Last month, Wisconsin’s Office of Lawyer Regulation recommended the state Supreme Court suspend Kratz’s law license for six months stemming from the text messages and other allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior. He has until Dec. 28 to respond.
Information from: The Post-Crescent, http://www.postcrescent.com