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Warning: watching this video is likely to cause your blood pressure to rise.
Ed Kramer is a co-founder of Dragon*Con, the mega-popular cosplay/role-playing/get your freak on con held every Labor Day in Atlanta. For more than a decade Kramer has been successfully eluding standing trial on a bunch of charges of child molestation, claiming that he is not healthy enough to stand trial. This standoff ended in 2011, when he was found to be healthy enough to film undressed teen boys in a hotel room. Charged with a felony of “risk of injury to a child,” Kramer was incarcerated in Connecticut then extradited back to Atlanta, where as the above video shows, he’s been filing complaint after complaint, including such things as asking for a turkey sandwich instead of the roast beef given to other prisoners.
It’s an old tactic, for Kramer, as the Atlanta Magazine feature on him reveals:
On the strength of his unusual health demands, including twice-daily oatmeal baths he claimed were needed to treat his skin condition, Kramer was released on $75,000 bond in early November 2000. But he was back in jail only a few days later, after a neighbor reported seeing a teenage boy enter his house.
Within weeks, Kramer claimed that a deputy attempting to break up a food fight between inmates had assaulted him, smashing his head into a cinder block wall. In late January 2001, Judge Turner again yielded to Kramer’s complaints by granting him the first in a long series of bond modifications. Kramer would be allowed to stay under house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor, as long as he had no further contact with children under the age of sixteen.
“Ed Kramer is an incredibly difficult inmate,” Porter says. “As soon as he puts on an orange jumpsuit, he becomes an invalid. He makes it so difficult and expensive to keep him in confinement that he just wears everyone down.”
While Dragon*Con has mostly gone on, most people have believed that Kramer was no longer involved—however, he still is one-third owner of the show and receives as much as six figures a year from it. Recently, writer Nancy A. Collins has been calling for a boycott of Dragon*Con because of this. The current show runners have explained that although they’d rather not keep Kramer on the board, it’s not too easy to get rid of him, doubtless because of his brilliant use of the legal system to dodge and obfuscate:
There has been a great deal of discussion as of late in the community regarding our continued financial connection to Edward Kramer. Please know that we are as troubled by this circumstance as anyone else, but please also know that there is no simple, legal, solution to this matter…if there were, it would have been resolved long ago.
For the record, Edward Kramer resigned from the Dragon*Con convention in the year 2000. Since that time, he has had no role in the direction or management of the convention; however, he remains a stockholder despite our desires otherwise.
Despite this, the pressure is growing to do something about Kramer’s involvement in what is definitely a good time for those who attend. Cofounder Pat Henry also owns about a third of the con, and told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Kramer has rebuffed attempts to buy him out for as much as half a million dollars. Henry doubts Kramer will ever be bought out. “He has a total unwillingness to work in good faith,” he told the AJC.
What about just dissolving Dragon*Con and starting a new show? Henry says it “is not as easily done as one might think.”
Regardless of what is or is not easy, several young men now in their late 20s are still waiting for justice from the molestation that they claim occured more than a decade ago. Collins recently received a letter from one of them:
My name is [name redacted], I am one of the boys who was a victim of Ed, I was the younger 13 year old brother who originally told on Ed. Just wanted to tell you that I thank you for everything you have done regarding the Ed case boycotting Dragon con and I am sorry you have received hate letters and death threats. I just wanted you to know that it is appreciated and We are still ready, willing, and eager to get him into a court room and go to trial. It is good to know that some people out there aren’t backing him up.
Following the news report going around, at least one pro has renewed calls for a boycott:
Everybody has to make their own decisions. But I will never attend @dragoncon as long an accused pedophile makes a dime from it.
— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) April 20, 2013
I’m sure @dragoncon doesn’t WANT to be in business with an accused serial pedophile. But they are. I believe that should have consequences.
— Ron Marz (@ronmarz) April 20, 2013
Obviously, Kramer is a master at squirming away from any consequences for his actions. It’s equally obvious that he’s a pretty loathsome human being—ending his profiting from a weekend where people just want to have a good time might not be the easy thing, but it’s almost certainly the right thing to do.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.