In an exclusive interview Tuesday night on 27 News at 10, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen addressed the controversy surrounding Calumet County D.A. Ken Kratz, who admitted to sexting a domestic abuse victim.More >>
MADISON (WKOW) -- More details are surfacing about who Ken Kratz is, both as a district attorney and also as chair of the Crime Victims Rights Board (CVRB).
Tony Gibart of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV) says it is both ironic and upsetting that the chair of a board meant to protect victims would violate other victims himself.
"It just speaks to the absurdity that the chairperson of the CVRB would be the person to commit probably the most egregious violation of crime victim rights that we know about," said Gibart.
WCADV works with the CVRB and often tells victims to seek help from the board.
The CVRB was created in 1998 after the passage of Act 181. It is the last stop for victims who are unhappy with the way their cases were handled in court.
The board has five members and until December, the chair was Ken Kratz.
In a letter defending his recent accusations to the Department of Justice, Kratz says he has "presided over every hearing or complaint ever filed before that body."
Now that Kratz has admitted to improper conduct with one victim, what about the dozens of others he came into contact with through the board?
"All of the good things that the prosecutors in this state have done on behalf of victims are now suspect. I always thought he was a real gentleman, but unfortunately, after 35 years in law enforcement, I will also say nothing surprises me," said Chuck McGee, another of the original CVRB members who served with Kratz.
Gibart says Kratz's position may have compromised the integrity of the 34 cases Kratz oversaw.
"Not only has he tarnished or stained the reputation of that board but also, if there was anyone in the state of Wisconsin who should have understood the importance of treating crime victims with dignity and respect, it should have been him," said Gibart.
McGee does not believe the board needs to take another look at those cases because there are four other members and he feels confident those decisions were made thoughtfully and fairly. However, McGee says he plans to discuss the issue at Friday's board meeting.
Whether Kratz had any improper contact with victims dealing with the CVRB remains to be seen, but currently there are no complaints before the CVRB having to do with Kratz.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is urging anyone who has felt harassed by Kratz to come forward immediately.
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