Former DA will face disciplinary hearing for ethics charges


Former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz will face a disciplinary hearing in Appleton Tuesday. The former prosecutor faces six ethics charges for sexually harassing crime victims.

Kratz garnered a lot of positive media attention in 2006 when he prosecuted Steven Avery for the brutal murder of Teresa Halbach. But two years ago, several women accused him of sexually harassing them. In one case he sent a barrage of sexually suggestive texts to a woman while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for trying to strangle her. Last week, the Office of Lawyer Regulation agreed to drop five of the 11 ethics charges he faces; Kratz says he’ll plead no contest to the other six charges. Tony Gibhart handles governmental relations for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence. He says the hearing may bring some closure for the women Kratz allegedly harassed: “It looks like the ordeal that victims of Ken Kratz have been through may be winding down. This is a very exceptional case: The fact that he was a district attorney… his conduct had wide ranging impacts and ripples throughout the state and the nation.”

The Office of Lawyer Regulation has asked that the state Supreme Court suspend Kratz’s law license for six months. The hearing will result in a recommendation that will be sent to the Supreme Court for a final review. Kratz was serving on the Wisconsin Crime Victims rights board when the allegations against him first surfaced, but he resigned from the board at the request of the Department of Justice.

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