Thirteen years after his original arrest on child-molestation charges, DragonCon co-found Ed Kramer is at last heading to trial. Or, at least he has a trial date.
The Gwinnett (Georgia) Daily Post reports that following a two-and-a-half-hour hearing on Monday, Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers added the Kramer case to the judicial calendar for the weeks of Dec. 2 and 9 -- and according to Kramer's attorney McNeill Stokes, his client "wants to go to trial."
Kramer was originally arrested on charges of molesting three teenage boys between 1996 and 2000, but the trial has been repeatedly delayed since his 2003 indictment through legal maneuverings and claims of declining health, which at one point apparently required the attention of 16 physicians. He was first released on bond in November 2000, less than three months after his arrest, but he was back in jail within days when a neighbor reported seeing a teenage boy enter his home.
Following claims of a January 2001 assault by a deputy, Kramer was placed on house arrest, an order later modified to permit travel between Georgia and New Jersey or New York to receive medical treatments and visit his ailing mother. Under the conditions of the bond, he was to report his weekly location and not have any unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16. However, in September 2011, he was arrested in Connecticut after he allegedly was found alone in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. He was extradited back to Georgia in January 2013 to face six counts of child molestation.
Kramer’s return to Gwinnett County reignited criticism of his connection to DragonCon, sparking calls for a boycott of the popular Atlanta convention. Although he resigned from the board shortly after his arrest in 2000, as a co-founder Kramer continued to receive annual dividends — $154,000 for 2011 alone, according to Atlanta Magazine — after three attempts to buy out Kramer’s stake in the for-profit corporation for a reported $500,000 proved unsuccessful. In July, the DragonCon board transferred ownership of the convention to a new legal entity and offered Kramer cash for his shares, a move his attorney characterized as a "discriminatory squeeze-out."
The Daily Post reports that ahead of trial an agreement will have to be reached on "reasonable accommodations" for Kramer's health issues, which according to the medical director of the Gwinnett County jail range from Type II to diabetes and asthma to sleep apnea and "moderate to severe" hearing loss. A neurologist and rheumologist will testify in a separate hearing to help determine how long Kramer should reasonably be expected to sit attentively in a courtroom.