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No criminal charges in Wisconsin DA scandal, officials say

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • No criminal charges will be filed against former Wisconsin DA, Justice Department says
  • Officials allege Kenneth Kratz sent over 30 inappropriate text messages to a crime victim
  • Kratz resigned from office in October 2010
  • The DOJ has referred the matter to the office that regulates state lawyers

(CNN) -- A Wisconsin district attorney who resigned amid a texting scandal involving a domestic abuse victim will not face any criminal charges in the case, the state's Justice Department said Monday.

"Our prosecutors have concluded that they can not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed a specific violation of a criminal law," said Bill Cosh, communications officer with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, in a statement.

The state began investigating former Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz after allegations surfaced that he sent over 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim while prosecuting her former boyfriend.

The woman, state officials said, eventually contacted local police and "expressed concerns that if she did not do what (Kratz) wanted her to, (Kratz) might throw her case or possibly retaliate in other ways," according to the Justice Department.

They cited a specific text that refers to the woman as a "tall, young, hot nymph," and another that says, "You are beautiful and would make a great partner someday."

Wisconsin authorities said Kratz did not violate the law or any rules of professional conduct, but said his conduct "can be construed as sexual harassment" and that Kratz's behavior "could easily have adversely impacted his ability to successfully prosecute his case on behalf of the state."

Kratz denied wrongdoing for weeks before publicly stating, "My behavior was inappropriate." When Kratz refused calls from state and local officials and domestic violence advocates for him to step down from office, Gov. Jim Doyle eventually began taking steps to have Kratz removed.

The proceedings were terminated after Kratz resigned in October, state officials said.

The Wisconsin Justice Department said it has referred the matter to the Supreme Court's Office of Lawyer Regulation, which handles the investigation and discipline of state lawyers.

 
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