time served

You can consider this a follow-up to Steve’s post. Or completely unrelated. It depends, I suppose, on your standing on a rather controversial case.

At any rate, while the various Klingons and Stormtroopers and Troma girls and faeries are partying downtown, the guy who helped get it all started, Ed Kramer, is under house arrest in Gwinnett County. Because of an arrest for child molestation. In August 2000.

No, the case hasn’t gone to trial yet. It was supposed to last fall, according to this Creative Loafing story, but as of now he’s been under arrest over four years without a trial.

This is, according to a friend of mine who is also a friend of Kramer’s, not atypical for a child molestation case in the greater Atlanta area (and like all information you read on a blog, take that with a grain of salt). Apparently prosecutors like to delay three or four years on cases of child molestation, in hopes that the accused will eventually break down and sign a confession. It’s not like the accused is going to get, or expect, a lot of sympathy from the community at large — although there has been a legal defense fund started for Kramer, and the National Center for Reason and Justice has taken up his case. (Interestingly enough, the NRCJ includes Mark Pendergrast, a local author — he wrote For God, Country and Coca-Cola — as a member of its board of directors.)

I met Kramer only once; in the spring of 2000 I interviewed him for a DragonCon story I was preparing for Atlanta Magazine (the story was killed well before his arrest). He was perfectly decent, gave me an account of the convention’s history and how it had grown. As to his guilt or innocence I have no idea. I know about a dozen people who have worked DragonCon staff, then or since — in August 2000 I was dating a guy I’d met in the Con Suite two months earlier — and while a number of people were willing to admit they’d heard weird rumors and nasty gossip here and there, and said things like, “If he’s guilty, I will personally throw away the cell key,” no one was actually willing to convict him on hearsay.

I’m not sure what the DragonCon folks would say now, if you asked. But I’m more interested in what the Gwinnett County district attorney’s office has to say for itself. I mean, if the man’s (a) guilty and (b) as much of a threat to society as the house arrest would imply, then bring on the trial already. The idea that a man can languish for four years while the state makes up its mind about whether or not he’s the worst kind of scum, with neighbors, friends, and parents wanting to know the same thing — to mention the Sixth Amendment ought to be redundant, at this point.

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