Did AG’s political ties to admitted sexual predator prompt inaction?

MADISON – The Democratic Party of Wisconsin today called for an independent investigation of Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s handling of the case of Ken Kratz, a political ally and admitted sexual predator. The call follows reports that Van Hollen’s office decided against any disciplinary action of Kratz despite pleas from his 25-year old victim.

“J.B. Van Hollen looks to have tried to sweep this case under the rug,” said DPW spokesman Graeme Zielinski. "Only an independent probe can uncover the full scope of Van Hollen's misconduct involved here.”

In Wisconsin, the governor has the power to remove District Attorneys from office in cases of malfeasance, misconduct, or neglect of duty. Van Hollen first learned of the incident over 11 months ago, but did not refer the case to Governor Doyle or disclose any other details until media pressure forced his hand.

Kratz, an early endorser of Van Hollen's 2006 campaign, sent more than 30 explicit text messages soliciting a sexual relationship with a domestic abuse victim whose case he was handling as district attorney. The victim’s boyfriend nearly strangled her to death, and Kratz suggested reducing the charges to a mere misdemeanor as leverage in his pursuit.

“This young woman was first abused by her boyfriend, then by District Attorney Kratz, and now there is strong evidence that, by his inaction, she has been abused by J.B. Van Hollen as well,” Zielinski said.