Rep. Bill Kramer sat with his head bowed low Monday morning as the clitter-clack of cameras echoed throughout Waukesha County's intake court.
Kramer, 49, made his initial appearance in court to respond to charges that he used force to grope a legislative aide at a 2011 fundraiser in Muskego. Deputy District Attorney Debra Blasius agreed to allow Kramer's release on a $5,000 signature bond on the condition that he have no contact with the victim or any witnesses listed in the complaint. He was also ordered to have no contact with any establishment that serves alcohol.
Kramer was charged March 28 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with two counts of second-degree sex assault. If convicted, he could face up to 80 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.
Kramer has represented the 97th Assembly District since 2006. The district includes a portion of Waukesha, Genesee and Mukwonago. He was named Republican majority leader in September 2013. He was ousted from that position in early March over allegations that he sexually harassed one woman and inappropriately touched another on a trip to Washington, D.C.
Kramer has filed paperwork with state election authories saying he will not seek re-election. He did not respond to questions about his ability to represent constituents while the case is pending.
Attorney Eduardo Borda said Kramer would plead not guilty at a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 15.
"This knee-jerk reaction to discredit or destroy a politician is not a substitute for the presumption of innocence," Borda said after the court hearing.
He said the assigned judge, Donald Hassin, is "well-respected," and he trusts that he will not allow the case to become a "circus."
According to the criminal complaint, a legislative aide contacted the City of Muskego Police Department on March 5 to report the alleged sex assault.
She told police that Kramer twice tried to force himself on her at a Pints and Politics event in April 2011 hosted by the Republican Party of Waukesha County, the complaint alleges.
Keith Best, vice chairman of the Republican Party in Waukesha County, told police that the woman was extremely upset and distraught after the incident.
She said she did not immediately contact police because she "did not want any embarassment for herself, her family or the Party," the complaint states.
She told police she decided to pursue charges after hearing about the accusations in Washington, D.C.
In the complaint, Kramer said he could not meet with detectives until April because he was in therapy. He changed his statement several times when asked about the incident, the complaint said.