Lawyer: Police unfair to Kramer
Police say DragonCon founder's health good enough, prior arrest relevant to case
THE ATTORNEY REPRESENTING accused child molester Ed Kramer, founder of Atlanta's annual DragonCon sci-fi convention, says his client is being unfairly "tried in the media" and that his health is suffering as he sits without bond in the Gwinnett County Jail. Kramer was arrested Aug. 25 and charged with aggravated child molestation after a 13-year-old boy told investigators Kramer had sodomized him when the boy spent the night at Kramer's house. Last week, a judge denied bond for Kramer.
"He has some serious health-related problems, and his health is deteriorating considerably," says Atlanta lawyer Jim Altman, who declines to identify Kramer's ailments specifically, but claims that severe infections, or even amputation, may result if he doesn't receive proper treatment.
Gwinnett police investigator Curtis Clemons scoffs at Altman's fears.
"Mr. Kramer does have some medical conditions ... but nothing remotely life-threatening," Clemons says. "There's a medical wing at the jail here, and he's receiving care. But I think whatever's wrong with him isn't going to be any better until he finds some way to get out of jail."
Altman also says details provided to the media by Clemons and others have unfairly portrayed the evidence against his client. Taking issue with reports that police found some 200 pornographic videotapes in Kramer's Duluth home, Altman says only a handful of the tapes contain questionable content.
"At the preliminary hearing and bond hearing, Inspector Clemons characterized 'a few' of them as being what he'd call soft-core pornography. He agreed under cross-examination that there was nothing hard-core there, and that only a few qualified as porn at all.
"The only information I've provided anyone is what's already public record or what came out at the bond hearing," responds Clemons. In fact, he says, new evidence continues to come to light "on a daily basis."
Dr. Milton Levy, assistant director at Metro Regional Educational Service Agency, says Kramer's job performance at the agency was very satisfactory, although his contract was terminated after his arrest. Asked why Kramer was allowed to work at an agency that deals with children despite an earlier arrest on molestation charges, Levy says, "If we'd known about that, obviously he wouldn't be here."
But Altman says Kramer was justified in denying the prior arrest, noting that the boy "recanted those charges, and the district attorney's office consented to the expungement of those records."
The revelation of that prior record to CL, says Altman, only underlines his contention that investigators are improperly revealing information.
"I'm absolutely shocked by what I've seen in the media," he says. "The nature of this charge tends to evoke great emotions, and — on this charge in particular — people are often viewed as being guilty till proven innocent. ... But the police seem satisfied to begin the trial in the press, rather than in the courtroom."
While Clemons concedes that a charge that has been administratively dismissed would normally be hidden from public view, he says the similarities in the allegations that led to both of Kramer's arrests established a pattern of reported behavior, and that a bond hearing is a valid forum to present such information.