JAN: In the YOU-CAN'T-MAKE-THIS-STUFF-UP department, you have to give big points to the Wisconsin district attorney who sent sexually harrassing text messages to a victim of sexual abuse-- calling her a "hot young nymph" and asking if she was "the kind of girl who likes secret contact with an older married elected DA."
This is so gross on so many levels, I just have to spell them out.
The DA was, at the time, prosecuting the victim's boyfriend for trying to strangle her, so not only was he targeting the vulnerable, there was an unspoken power play -- the implication that turning down his sexual favors might affect his resolve in prosecuting this victim's boyfriend.
She was 26. He was 50. Ick.
In perhaps the SO-HYPOCRITICAL-YOU-CAN'T-BELIEVE-IT department, the DA was also on the local Crime Victim's Rights Board.
In the IS-HE-OUT-OF-HIS-MIND? department, even after the sexting story broke, the DA repeatedly resisted stepping down from this Crime Victim's Rights board, and later tried to barter with the board, saying that he would only step down if they didn't disclose any of the details. (they declined and eventually he had to step down).
And to prove that he's the kind of guy who doesn't believe that no means no, there were thirty text messages, count-em, thirty, to this woman.
What I find the most unbelieveable, though, is that when the story initially broke last spring, the Office of Lawyer Regulation in Wisconsin concluded that the DA's actions were "inappropriate," but did not amount to misconduct. So my question is: if targeting someone who already proved vulnerable to abuse, and then using your perceived power over her to make sexual advances isn't misconduct in Wisconson, what the hell is??
Did I mention this District Attorney was an elected official?? Up until a couple of weeks ago, he was still planning to run for re-election. Is this a sense of entitlement gone mad? Delusional beyond delusional? Early onset Alzheimer's?
Luckily for victims of sexual harassment, other women came forward with more complaints and our older, married DA was finally forced to step down.
But if it took this much public exposure to bring him down, imagine how much corruption could go undetected in any district attorney's office. What a terrific setting that would be for a mystery, and what a great basis for a fictional villain this DA would be.
ROSEMARY: You know..if I saw this on Law & Order I wouldn't have believed it.
JAN: Yeah, that's the tough part. This guy might just be too creepy to make him seem true.
What do you think? Good villain, or too far over the line?
And come back tomorrow when I interview Elizabeth Brundage about her terrific new book: A Stranger Like You
Thursday, we'll be talking about my favorite topic again, EMAIL addiction.