Though he pleaded guilty to three counts of child molestation several years ago, DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer doesn’t want to be labeled a “sexually dangerous predator.”
Earlier this month, Kramer, who was sentenced in 2013 to an aggregate of 20 years with the first five to be served in home confinement stemming from an arrest in 2000 for allegedly sexually assaulting three teenage boys, filed a petition in Fulton County Superior Court challenging a Dec. 15 letter from the state’s Sexual Offender Registration Review Board informing him of his new classification.
The board is required by Georgia law to determine the risk level of sex offenders convicted in the state and places them into one of three categories: Level 1, which indicates a low risk for recidivism; Level 2, which indicates an intermediate risk of recidivism; or Level 3, sexually dangerous predator, which indicates a person’s high probability of reoffending.
SDPs are required to wear electronic monitoring systems, such as an ankle bracelet, “for the remainder of (their) natural life” in addition to other requirements and restrictions.
Kramer’s petition, which was obtained by the Daily Post, said the requirement “substantially interferes with (his) liberty and, coupled with the (predator classification’s) extreme stigma and detriment to current and future employment opportunities, violates (Kramer’s) constitutional and statutory rights.”
At its core, however, the filing centers on a Gwinnett County District Attorney’s office senior attorney, Richard Vandever, who serves on the review board.
According to the 19-page document, Vandever’s role as a board member and his participation in the sex offender classification decision “was highly inappropriate and certainly violative of Georgia statutory law and the due process clauses of both the federal and State constitutions,” due to the Gwinnett DA’s office being “recused, in its entirety,” from involvement in Kramer’s case based on a habeas corpus challenge he previously brought against the courts and DA.
In October 2014, nearly 11 months after his December 2013 guilty plea, Kramer and his attorney Stephen Reba filed the habeus corpus petition, which essentially claimed that Judge Karen Beyers and District Attorney Danny Porter, who handled Kramer’s criminal case, colluded to force him into the plea.
Reba said at the time his client wanted a trial and, in the months following the habeas corpus filing, all of Gwinnett’s Superior Court judges recused themselves from handling the case.
The last two judges to recuse themselves, Melodie Snell Conner and Kathryn Schrader, filed their paperwork jointly in January 2015, saying that they found “no evidence or implication of any improper relationship existing between Superior Court Bench and the District Attorney’s Office” but that they were recusing themselves to “avoid any appearance of impropriety.”
The petition was later assigned to Piedmont Circuit Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Adams, where it remains pending.
Porter told the Daily Post on Thursday that his office hasn’t been disqualified, however, which would void Kramer’s argument that Vandever’s role as a board member is a conflict of interest.
“The DA’s Office hasn’t been disqualified by any court order,” Porter said. “The habeas was filed against state officers, so the (attorney general) is handling it. Kramer has moved to disqualify us from a motion to vacate his sentence in the original criminal case, but there’s been no ruling.”
Porter said: “Once again, Kramer is engaging in litigation based on false assertions of fact. He is a Dangerous Sexual Predator, and the classification is correct.”
Kramer, a Duluth resident, co-founded DragonCon in 1987, though he has not been involved with the convention since 2000 when he was arrested for the alleged molestations.
His prosecution was delayed for years due constant legal posturing and a litany of medical issues, reportedly ranging from neck pain and hearing issues to emphysema and psoriatic arthritis, Porter previously said. In September 2011, he was arrested again after he was found in a Connecticut hotel room with a 14-year-old boy.
The stipulations of Kramer’s bond prohibited him from having any unsupervised contact with a child under 16 years old and he was extradited to Gwinnett following the arrest.
Kramer remained part owner of DragonCon until July 2013, when he was bought out by the organization, four months prior to his guilty plea.
It was not immediately known if the timing was connected to the plea, though many had urged DragonCon to cut ties with the co-founder in the years following his initial arrest.