MADISON, Wis. -- A lawyer representing embattled Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth R. Kratz said Monday that Kratz will resign, nearly two weeks after it was revealed that he had sent sexually suggestive text messages to a domestic violence victim.
Kratz had resisted calls for his resignation from fellow district attorneys, state lawmakers and victims' advocates since admitting he had sent the text messages, but his lawyer said Monday that Kratz had decided that resigning was in the best interests of everyone involved.
The pressure on Kratz to step down intensified in recent days, when at least four more women accused him of similar misconduct.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle began the process to remove Kratz from office last week after he received verified complaints about Kratz's conduct from Calumet County residents.
Kratz's lawyer, Robert Craanen , announced Kratz's intention to resign during a hearing at the Calumet County Courthouse to determine a schedule for removal proceedings against the prosecutor.
Craanen said Kratz plans to resign by Oct. 8, which is when the removal proceedings are scheduled to begin. Doyle would decide at the end of the proceedings whether the evidence against Kratz justifies removing him from office.
The removal process will continue until Doyle receives Kratz's resignation letter, Doyle spokesman Adam Collins said. The proceedings will be cancelled if Doyle accepts Kratz's resignation.
Craanen said he was waiting for more information from Kratz before submitting the resignation letter.
Craanen also said the removal process was politically motivated and moving too fast.
"There was no way he could find a successful outcome in this," Craanen said of the removal proceedings.
Kratz did not attend Monday's hearing. He announced last week that he was taking an indefinite medical leave of absence, and Craanen has said Kratz is enrolled in therapy for a "nonphysical illness."
Kratz, a Republican, has been Calumet County's district attorney since 1992. Until Monday, Kratz had indicated that he planned to run for re-election in 2012.
The prosecutor has been under fire since it was revealed Sept. 15 that he sent 30 text messages over three days last fall to Stephanie L. Van Groll while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend. Kratz, 50, referred to Van Groll in one text as a "young, hot nymph" and asked in another message if she "likes secret contact with an older married elected DA."
Van Groll, 26, reported the text messages to Kaukauna police, who turned the investigation over to the state Department of Justice.
Officials with the Department of Justice found no evidence of criminal conduct but forced Kratz to resign as chairman of the Wisconsin Crime Victims Rights Board and report himself to the state Office of Lawyer Regulation.
Kratz initially resisted resigning from the victims' rights board and reporting himself to the regulatory office, telling state officials that his texts to Van Groll were "a series of respectful messages."
The Office of Lawyer Regulation reviewed the case but did not discipline Kratz, drawing criticism from throughout state government.
The office reversed course Friday, announcing it would reopen its investigation into Kratz in light of similar accusations that have surfaced in the last two weeks.
A 31-year-old law student, Maria Ruskiewicz, has said she received sexually charged texts from Kratz after requesting his support for a pardon from a drug conviction, and another woman said in a letter to the state that Kratz invited her to a crime victim's autopsy.
Van Groll's lawyer has said a third woman told him that she received inappropriate messages from Kratz, while another woman told the Appleton Post-Crescent that Kratz offered her help with a domestic violence impact statement in exchange for sex.
Kratz has denied inviting a woman to an autopsy but has not responded to the other allegations.
Ruskiewicz said Monday she was surprised by Kratz's plans to resign.
"I thought he was going to fight this tooth and nail to retain his position of power," said Ruskiewicz, who said she plans to file a complaint against Kratz with the Office of Lawyer Regulation and wants to see him permanently disbarred.
Van Groll's lawyer, Michael R. Fox , said Kratz's decision to resign could be an attempt to prevent other allegations from coming to light during removal proceedings.
Nevertheless, Fox said, Van Groll is pleased with Kratz's decision.
"Certainly one of the things that she wanted was for what had happened to her not to happen to other people who were involved in domestic violence situations," he said. "With him resigning, that concern has been addressed, and that's a good thing."