Yesterday, co-founder of Dragon*Con Edward J Kramer pled guilty to counts of child molestation, charges that he had successfully managed to legally avoid facing for well over a decade. As technically a first time offender, he was sentenced to twenty years, but will only spend five years under confinement. And as he has already served 26 months on remand, he will serve the rest of those five years under house arrest, and then remain on probation for the remaining fifteen years.
The battle to convict Kramer has been a long and hard one, and he famously used the profits from the Dragon*Con show to fund his legal defence.
His legal defence stated that he pled guilty without actually admitting guilt, known as an Alford plea, to avoid a lengthy trial which they argue he would not be able to survive medically. Though the extend of his illnesses have often been debated. But as a result of his guilty plea to three counts of child molestation, he had three counts of aggravated child molestation removed.
However, if one term of the nine-condition agreement is breached, he could return to jail for up to sixty years, an effective life sentence given Kramer is now 52.
Under the court's nine-condition agreement, if the 52-year-old Kramer violates even a single term he could land back in prison for up to 60 years, which includes paying the victims $100,000 each, if he leaves house arrest or meets anyone under 16 in age. The district attorney believes that Kramer will be unable to stick to these terms and will be incarcerated at a later date.
It's a victory for his victims, who talk about the continuing affect Kramer's abuse had on them. But also for those who kept this matter in the public eye, often with considerable criticism aimed at them.
Science-fiction writer Nancy A Collins was a principle leader in speaking out against Kramer and for promoting the boycott of Dragon*Con which eventually saw the founders nullify the convention and start anew, so that profits would no longer go to Kramer. From a long high profile thread on Facebook,
Steve Bissette: Nancy A Collins: so, any apologies winging your way yet? Jamming your email? No? They SHOULD be. Pronto.
Colleen Doran: Crickets chirping.
Dave Dorman: Apologies to Nancy A. Collins are long overdue.
Steve Bissette: So, no apologies, then. Damn. I was hoping they were clogging your email access today. Well, **I'LL** apologize, then, for not rising up and singing out sooner. This is vindication in spades for brave souls like Nancy, who took some real career-blows over this.
The thread spiraled out into a number of related stories over the years, involving Don Murphy, Harlan Ellison and exactly how Kramer got away with it so long, which makes for fascinating if disturbing reading, with Collins relating her own experiences and thoughts on the judgment.
Suffice it to say, that this is not over, not by a long chalk.