Courtesy of Gwinnett Superior Court
After twelve years of watching DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer choke the legal system with myriad medical grievances (including a skin condition that required regular oatmeal baths), you might have thought the man was never going to stand trial on child molestation charges that date back to 2000.
You’d have been right.
On Monday, finally docketed as the day jury selection was to begin, Kramer actually expedited the legal process by pleading guilty to three counts of felony child molestation in Gwinnett County Superior Court. In exchange, the DragonCon co-founder was sentenced to five years house arrest for each count, to be served concurrently. The last twenty-six months that Kramer has been in jail—following his Connecticut arrest for violating his bond—will be applied toward his sentence, meaning that Kramer will be serve the next thirty-four months of his sentence from home. He also has to pay $100,000 in restitution to each victim.
Kramer’s attorney, McNeill Stokes, emphasized that the deal is what is referred to as an “Alford Plea,” in which the defendant pleads guilty while maintaining his innocence. Stokes says that due to breathing problems and a broken neck that has underwent numerous surgeries, Kramer “just wasn’t physically able to stand trial.”
To the casual observer, it may appear that the Dungeon Master’s delay tactics finally prevailed at the cost of a moderate penalty. Not so, says Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter, who first indicted Kramer way back in October 2000. “The primary goal is to make sure we reach resolutions that are satisfying for the victims,” says Porter. “If they’re happy, I’m happy.” Porter says all three of the victims, now grown men who were ready and eager to testify, are pleased with the result and ready to put the ordeal behind them. “They have plans,” says Porter, referring to $100,000, a sum Porter arrived at by considering what he has heard of Kramer’s recent settlement with DragonCon, officially and completely severing Kramer from the event he helped create. Porter says that one victim plans on putting the money toward his newborn daughter’s education.
But what of Porter’s satisfaction? After more than a decade of chasing this man and these charges, of dealing with $200,000 worth of annual medical bills to the county, does the prosecutor feel vindicated? “I’m glad that’s it’s resolved,” he says. “This resolution puts the whole thing to bed.”
Though he was confident of a conviction, Porter says he was worried that, depending on the judge’s sentence, Kramer could have paroled early and then been more or less free to roam. Under this plea deal, Kramer will be on strict probation for the remaining fifteen years of his sentence, during which time he will not be allowed to leave the county and will be under close supervision. Porter feels that the deal he brokered is the best possible outcome.