Edward Kramer 2011 mug shot from Milford, Connecticut police
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Dragon Con co-founder Ed Kramer pleaded guilty to three counts of child molestation charges in court in Gwinnett County late Monday morning.
Kramer, 52, pleaded guilty to one count for each of his three victims. The long-delayed trial was set to get underway Monday. The trial had been delayed several times due to Kramer's ongoing health problems. Kramer was arrested in 2000.
In a plea deal, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter recommended a 20-year sentence, with five of those years to be served in custody and the remainder on probation.
With credit for the 26 months Kramer has already served in custody, he will end up serving 34 months under house arrest, due to his medical condition. He will not be permitted to leave home except for religious services, medical appointments, legal appointments and for grocery shopping.
He is not permitted to have any contact with anyone under the age of 16. Kramer will also have to pay $100,000 restitution to each of the three victims. Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers accepted the plea deal and the negotiated sentence.
Kramer was present in court, reclining in a wheelchair, the sound of a breathing machine could be heard from the chair.
Two of the three victims spoke in court.
The first said his wife had been wonderful through the process.
"I realized, it is paralyzing," the man said. "I just want to let the court and Ed know that even now it is something I fight with."
The second victim said he was happy that Porter continued to pursue charges against Kramer over the years.
"I don't know what to say. I'm glad Mr. Porter never stopped trying," he said. "It's amazing to finally have some type of closure. I'm glad I get to move on."
Kramer will be registered as a sex offender, and due to his lack of a criminal record prior to this point, will be considered a first offender.
Officials said Kramer would remain in custody until electronic monitoring is set up in his home.
Defense attorney McNeill Stokes told reporters that Kramer still maintains his innocence, and only accepted a negotiated guilty plea to avoid the rigors of a physical trial.
"He's a wreck," Stokes said, citing several physical ailments, including a broken neck and breathing problems.
Stokes said house arrest is more tolerable than a possible prison sentence for his client.
Gwinnett Co. District Attorney Danny Porter, who's been pursuing Ed Kramer for 13 years said he was satisfied with the negotiated guilty plea and sentence of 34 months house arrest.
Porter said he agreed to the deal to spare the victims the ordeal of a trial.
He also said he was pleased Kramer would have to pay the victims $300,000 in restitution considering Kramer's recent buy out agreement with other founders of the popular Dragon Con science fiction franchise.
Porter said at most a trial and conviction may have meant a 5 to 7 year prison sentence, but a much less strictly supervised parole after that.
He said the negotiated deal now means Kramer will have to "answer to the judge and me."
As for Kramer's insistence that he's really innocent, Porter said, "he's still in custody, he's still a registered sex offender, he still has to pay restitution, so even if he doesn't admit it, what difference does it make in the end?"
Porter added that Gwinnett County has already spent $300,000 on Kramer's medical care while he was in custody, which will now end.
He said he still considers Kramer a threat to children and expects a "miraculous recovery" of his debilitating medical ailments.
Porter also doubted whether Kramer would meet all the conditions of the deal.
"It would not surprise me to see him back in court in 90 or 120 days; then he's looking at a probation revocation," he added.
Porter said if that happens, Kramer could end up facing up to a full 60 year prison sentence.
The current organizers of Dragon Con say Kramer is no longer associated with the hugely popular sci-fi convention.
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