'Sexting' DA Quits, Says He Will Return a 'Better Person'

VIDEO: Kenneth Kratz is accused of sexting women in cases he was prosecuting.PlayABCNEWS.com
WATCH Lawyer: Sexting DA to Resign

The Wisconsin district attorney accused of "sexting" women involved in cases he was prosecuting has officially resigned from office and apologized for the "embarrassment and shame" he's brought to his family.

"It is with deep sadness and regret that I announce my resignation as Calumet County District Attorney, effective immediately," Calument County District Attorney Ken Kratz said in a letter announcing the move. "I have lost the confidence of the people I represent due primarily to personal issues which have now affected my professional career."

An official with the Calumet County District Attorney's office confirmed the resignation to ABC News.

"I offer a sincere apology to my wife, son and entire family for the embarrassment and shame I have caused," Kratz said in the letter. "They remain supportive of my efforts to seek professional help, and I will be a better person as a result."

Kratz, 50, said his treatment is taking place in another state, but that he plans to return to Wisconsin and "resume [his] legal career." He also said he would return from treatment "a better person."

Kratz initially fought pressure to resign for two weeks after the allegations of sexual harassment were first made public in September, but recently announced that he would step down before the Oct. 8 court hearing that could have forced his removal.

Among those pushing hardest against Kratz was Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a former district attorney himself. He applauded Kratz's resignation today, but said it would not stop an investigation into "serious questions" about his actions.

"Every victim of a crime, particularly sensitive crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, has the right to be treated with respect and dignity," Doyle said in a prepared statement. "Ken Kratz egregiously violated that basic right and therefore cannot hold the office of district attorney."

The first of what would become five accusations against Kratz came to light Sept. 15 when The Associated Press published several text messages from Kratz to Stephanie Van Groll, the victim in a domestic violence case Kratz was trying in the fall of 2009.

Van Groll, 26, went to police after she received the texts from Kratz, messages in which he called her a "tall, young, hot nymph" and asked whether she is "the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA."

DA Sends 30 Texts to Domestic Violence Victim, Others Also Claim Harassment

Kratz admitted to texting Van Groll and offered his "sincere and heartfelt apology" at a news conference days after the news broke. He also said he had already begun psychotherapy to address the "selfishness" and "arrogance" that led to him contact Van Groll.

"My behavior was inappropriate," Kratz said then. "I'm embarrassed and ashamed for the choices that I made, and the fault was mine alone."

Van Groll told state investigators that the first text message from Kratz came 10 minutes after she'd left his office in October 2009, following a meeting at which she detailed the abuse that her boyfriend had inflicted.

Over two days, 29 more messages from Kratz followed, increasing in suggestiveness and at times taking a threatening tone.

Investigators reported that Van Groll felt "afraid that if she doesn't do what he wants, Kratz will throw out her whole case."

A second woman came forward early last week to claim similar harassment, saying Kratz had offered to let her attend an autopsy. In an e-mail written to Gov. Doyle, the woman claimed to have met Kratz online in December 2009. On a dinner date, the woman alleged, Kratz divulged to her the details of an ongoing murder investigation in which a woman was believed to have been killed by her boyfriend.

A few days later, a third woman came forward to claim she, too, had been harassed via text message by Kratz.

Maria Ruskiewicz told the AP she met Kratz in 2008 about a previous drug case. Ruskiewicz said that after she left the meeting, she received several texts from Kratz that escalated into sexual harassment.

"The reason ... I'm coming forward is he abuses his power, not only with women, but with women in certain situations who are extremely vulnerable to his authority," Ruskiewicz, 31, an Appleton, Wis., native, told The Associated Press in late September.

In the week that followed, another two women leveled similar accusations, ABC New's Wisconsin affiliate WBAY reported.

Doyle, the governor, a former district attorney and state attorney general, began proceedings to investigate the complaints, a process that could have concluded with Kratz's forcible removal.

The investigation into Kratz's alleged harassment will continue whether he is in office or not, one investigator told WBAY.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.