Further allegations against 'sexting' DA claim social invitation to an autopsy

2010-09-21T07:05:00Z 2010-11-09T16:20:05Z Further allegations against 'sexting' DA claim social invitation to an autopsyBy DEE J. HALL | dhall@madison.com | 608-252-6132 madison.com
September 21, 2010 7:05 am  • 

Weeks after Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz was caught sending sexually charged text messages to a crime victim, he shared confidential details of a murder investigation with another woman and invited her to wear high heels to the victim's autopsy, according to a letter obtained Monday by the Wisconsin State Journal.

In the letter sent to Gov. Jim Doyle on Friday, the woman called for Kratz's removal from office and an investigation into why the district attorney was not sanctioned for his improper attempts to strike up a sexual relationship with Stephanie Van Groll, whose ex-boyfriend Kratz was prosecuting on domestic abuse charges

The woman could not be reached for comment Monday. However, Doyle spokesman Adam Collins released a copy of the letter to the media Monday afternoon - with the woman's name blacked out - shortly before Doyle announced he would seek to remove Kratz once he receives a "verified" complaint from a taxpayer in Calumet County. Van Groll lives in a different county.

Kratz, who has held his position for 18 years, has apologized for sending the text messages and said he would seek therapy. He began a medical leave on Monday, but his attorney has said he would fight attempts to remove him from office.

Kratz was also pressured to resign from the Crime Victims Rights Board, which he had chaired for 11 years, on Dec. 3 after Van Groll called Kaukauna police to report that Kratz had been harassing her by sending 30 text messages in three days.

Last week, another woman wrote to Doyle's office to say she had had a similar experience with Kratz, 50, after the two met on the online dating service Match.com in December.

"We exchanged a few emails and eventually agreed to meet for dinner," she wrote. "I was hesitant since he had written some things that were inappropriate to say to someone at that stage of communicating, and also seems to vacillate between kind and interesting and insecure, impatient and demanding. But I figured that as a public figure in a position of authority, I should be safe with him."

Later in the letter, the woman recounts incidents that appear to match the circumstances surrounding the case of Michelle Jaeger, a 39-year-old Chilton woman who disappeared in early January. Her body was found on Jan. 24, and Manitowoc County District Attorney Mark Rohrer has charged her former boyfriend, Roger D. Rosenthal, with first-degree intentional homicide. Jaeger's body was found near Brillion in Manitowoc County.

"We met for dinner at a restaurant in Green Bay on January 23, 2010," the woman wrote. "During dinner he was interrupted several times by phone calls from Detectives who were investigating a case of a missing woman who was suspected of having been killed by her boyfriend.

"I told him that if he needed to step away to have a private discussion, I didn't mind. He had no problem talking to them in front of me and then sharing the details with me as well. Many of the details that had not been made available to the public, as I later found out as I watched the news and searched reports on the Internet."

In the days following, the woman said Kratz kept her updated on the murder investigation "and even went so far as to inviting me to go with him to the autopsy (provided I would be his girlfriend and would wear high heels and a skirt)."

According to the Chilton Times Journal, Jaeger's autopsy was scheduled for Jan. 26.

The woman said she also felt harassed by text messages she received from Kratz, which appear to bear a strong resemblance to the texts the prosecutor sent to the abuse victim last October. She eventually told him to stop contacting her.

"If I didn't answer his texts immediately, he would become insecure and question why I hadn't responded and would attack me or my character," she wrote. "He would remind me of who he was, how he had prosecuted the biggest case around here and what a ‘prize' he was."

She ended the letter to Doyle by saying, "Please take action and do the right thing."

On Monday afternoon, Doyle said his office had not yet checked out the woman's allegations but called them "very troubling" and said officials would investigate. He added he found it "unimaginable" and "mind-boggling" that Kratz may have used his job, especially access to a victim's body, as a lure to become involved with the woman.

"To have an autopsy used as a premise for a social engagement, it's just beyond anything anybody could imagine," Doyle said.

- State Journal reporter Mary Spicuzza contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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