A Wisconsin district attorney is under fire -- charged by three different women with sending lewd, suggestive text messages and even offering to trade legal favors for sex.
Stephanie Van Groll, 26, came forward first. Van Groll was the victim of a domestic abuse attack last October -- badly beaten by her ex-boyfriend.
She says the district attorney, Ken Kratz, who was prosecuting that man, also sent her 30 text messages -- many of them sexually explicit.
In one text, he wrote, "Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA? ... The riskier the better?"
Despite her claims, no charges were brought against Kratz. Then last week, a second, unidentified woman came forward, claiming she, too, had been harassed by Kratz.
She says in January, Kratz revealed details of an ongoing murder case to her and then invited her to witness the victim's autopsy -- with one particular requirement -- that she "act as his girlfriend and wear high heels and a skirt" on the bizarre date.
On Tuesday, a third woman, Maria Ruskiewicz, a Wisconsin native and Oklahoma City University law student, brought even more charges against Kratz.
Ruskiewicz claims Kratz asked for sexual favors in exchange for supporting her request to have a teenage drug charge removed from her record. In one text, he allegedly wrote, "What are you going to do to please me in between the sheets?"
Ruskiewicz said, "I was freaked out. He had his hand in the success of my going to law school and the success of being able to apply as a non-felon in the future."
Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle called the charges "unimaginable" and "mind-boggling" and promised that -- if they're proven true -- he would remove Kratz from office.
Ruskiewicz told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Wednesday she's not surprised other women are making claims against Kratz.
She said, "Even when this happened to me in 2008, there's no way that I could be the only woman in this position. Especially with Ken Kratz, and a man with that much power."
Ruskiewicz told Rodriguez things turned from professional to inappropriate when she met him in his office to offer her thanks.
She explained, "They started to take an inappropriate turn soon after I met in his office to say, you know, 'Thank you for your support. Do you have any future advice for a soon-to-be law student?' It was immediately thereafter that he started texting, you know, 'How can you please me? How -- why have you failed my invitation?' And, you know, 'Have I done something wrong?' And those texts were just back-to-back."
Ruskiewicz said she received about seven messages from Kratz.
She continued, "I think the reason why it stopped so abruptly because I had texted him saying, 'Let's keep this on a professional level. I have a boyfriend,' which was a fib, but another way of saying, 'Hey look, Mr. Kratz, now is not the time and don't play these games with me.' But unfortunately, he did text me out of the clear blue sky a couple months later. … He said, 'We need to meet in person. We need to talk about a personal matter. You know, things can end.' The reason I was more afraid this time, it went from just texting to now we need to meet in person. And that's when I sought the help of Oklahoma City University."
Why didn't she come forward?
Ruskiewicz said she was trying to stay focused on her goal.
She said, "My focus was 'Let's complete law school, let's get this clemency and let's continue on the path of becoming an attorney.' I don't regret not coming forward, because I was focused and I was afraid to, so to speak, rock the boat, that I would inflame Mr. Kratz and he would revoke his support and take it off the table. I'm sorry not to have come forward in that other women have suffered because of that. But, also, the reason why I'm speaking now I've received that clemency, so no longer am I intimidated or afraid and that's why I'm speaking out today."
Rodriguez remarked, "Mr. Kratz's attorney has said he is going to fight to keep his client in office because other district attorneys have done far worse things and kept their jobs. What do you say to that, Maria?"
Ruskiewicz replied, "I think it's disgusting. I think people who support this man should truly consider, take a step back and think, 'Would someone in this position, should they have put me in a position to have to support his actions, which are unethical?' I think they need to realize Ken Kratz is a fallen crow and he is not worth anything, nor is he a good career move to support. I would strongly, to his supporters, (ask them to)reconsider, and look at the direction of the career path you're choosing with -- by supporting this man."
Rodriguez added Kratz has admitted to Van Groll's allegations and accepted all the blame, but has no comment so far on the other two women, including Ruskiewicz.
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