Monday, December 9, 2013


I am an angry man as I write today’s bloggy thing, but I will try
not to be ruled by that anger.  I’ll start with the most positive
thing I can say about the situation with Ed Kramer, convicted child
molester and co-founder of Dragon*Con and the Dragon*Con culture of
sleaze that allowed Kramer to escape even imperfect justice for so
many years. 

Nancy A. Collins is a hero.

Let me repeat that.

Nancy A. Collins is a hero.

The author fought for years to make fandom and the public aware of
Kramer’s crimes and how Dragon*Con made it possible for Kramer to
put off his trial for 13 years.  She was vilified by friends of Ed
Kramer, who also cast cruel comments at the victims of the man now
known to be a sociopath.  She was vilified by the other founders of
Dragon*Con and by the churlish fans of Dragon*Con.  If any of those
who vilified her had a molecule of the courage and decency shown by
Collins these many years, she would be receiving and reading their
abject apologies for the next several days.  As I write this blog,
I am unaware of her receiving any apologies from those defenders of
the indefensible.

My own minor involvement in the righteous outcry against Kramer and
Dragon*Con was inspired by the courage of Collins.  She and others
then provided me with newspaper stories and first-hand accounts of
Kramer’s crimes.  These led to accounts of other improprieties - to
put it way too kindly - at the convention.  Add to these accounts
my own solitary visit to Dragon*Con in the 1980s, a visit that left
me with a unflattering opinion of the event, and it became clear to
me that I had to take a stand.

I’m not going to give you a long recounting of Kramer’s crimes and
his long delay in facing even imperfect justice for those crimes.
I’m not going to give you a long recounting of Dragon*Con’s myriad
ethical and moral lapses, or the event’s indifference to the sexual
harassment and attacks on attendees, or the event’s tacit approval
of disgraceful public displays.  But I will give you a handful of
brief observations.

Dragon*Con was a sleazy convention long before Kramer’s predatory
nature became public.  That has not changed overmuch, though some
cosmetic changes were enacted in an attempt to improve the event’s
image this past year.  I received credible reports that little had
changed from previous events.

Dragon*Con is a cash cow.  Kramer’s cut of the take enabled him to
delay his day in court for over a dozen years.  Other founders of
the event spoke on his behalf in court and their testimony helped
keep him out of prison and free to commit additional crimes.  There
are also credible reports of Kramer’s involvement in the convention
continuing years past the time when the convention claimed he had
no further role in the event.

Dragon*Con’s other founders claimed for years that they could not
legally remove Kramer from their organization and cut off the money
that allowed him to delay justice.  Until, of course, they did just
that.  Because and only because the event’s bottom line was finally
in jeopardy.

The allegedly sickly Kramer was somehow well enough to travel out
of state in violation of his bond and subsequently get caught in a
motel room with a 14-year-old boy. That’s when we knew Kramer could
no longer escape his day in court and that’s when Dragon*Con knew
its bottom line would be in deep shit once the trial put the event
squarely in the spotlight.

Kramer didn’t exactly have his day in court.  After filing lawsuit
after lawsuit to bend the authorities to his will, Kramer chose not
to face his accusers in court.  He agreed to a plea deal and this
is where justice proved most terribly imperfect.

The outcome of Kramer’s non-trial is a disgrace.  He did not have
to admit his guilt in court.  He received a sentence of five years,
of which he has served two and of which he will spent the remaining
three under house arrest.  He has to pay $100,000 each to his three
victims.  He will forever be listed as a sexual offender, but that
does not automatically mean his neighbors will be informed there’s
a predator in their midst. 

Kramer spend two years in jail for his monstrous crimes, spending
that time wearing down the legal system with numerous lawsuits and
claims of poor health.  A member of my birth family will serve at
least twice that many years because he stole over a million dollars
from people who trusted him.  I don’t think my relative received an
unfair sentence.  I mention him only to point out the unbelievable
leniency of Kramer’s sentence. If you want to get physically ill,
compare Kramer’s sentence to the decades non-violent drug offenders
will serve in prison, mostly for being poor and not-white.  Yeah,
that’s American justice.

The prosecution in this matter has coughed up a lot of bullshit in
regard to this sentence.  These failed agents of justice go on and
on about how closely Kramer will be monitored or how he’ll go back
to prison for the slightest violation of this plea arrangement and
serve 60 years and blah blah blah.  They are convinced Kramer will
not be able to resist his predatory urges.

Let’s look at this a little closer...

The prosecution is expecting Kramer will violate the conditions of
the plea arrangement. That this potentially puts some new victim at
risk is acceptable to the prosecution.  Now ask yourself is that’s
a risk you find acceptable.

Kramer is a sociopath.  According to some of his former defenders,
they never realized he was a monster.  I wouldn’t bet the farm or
a child’s life on Kramer not being able to restrain his urges until
the time when he believes he can strike again and get away with it.
How long will the authorities keep him under heavy surveillance and
supervision before some bean-counter decides these precautions are
not cost-effective?

Let’s say Kramer does violate the terms of this plea arrangement.
Maybe he’ll go back to prison and maybe he won’t.  Maybe the same
co-founders of Dragon*Con who testified that he was too ill to go
on trial and, presumably, go to prison, will step up to defend him
once again.  Or maybe some other fool will fill that role this time
around.  Given his past delaying tactics, does anyone really have
a realistic expectation that Kramer won’t do everything he can to
stay out of prison? Again?

Let’s say - better case scenario - Kramer does go back to prison.
Given his past history, he will doubtless immediately start filing
lawsuits against the authorities for not meeting his medical needs
or his dietary needs or his security needs or whatever else comes
to his demented mind.  These are complaints the state will have to
address at additional expense to the taxpayers.  Kramer has nothing
to lose by being a nuisance.

The prosecution failed in their responsibility to punish Kramer for
his crimes and protect the public from his future crimes.  In the
battle of wills, they blinked.

What would be my idea of a just outcome?  I’d like Kramer to rot in
prison for the rest of his miserable life.

I’d like to see the Dragon*Con founders apologize for their role in
allowing Kramer to delay justice for so long.  I’d like to see
these same founders take real steps to change the culture of sleaze
that defines their convention, though I suspect they realize that’s
one of the attractions for some who attend the event.

Most of all, I’d like to see those founders and every one else who
attacked and vilified Nancy Collins make very public apologies to
that heroic woman.  I’d like to see that, but I don’t expect to see
that.  We’ve already established those folks are lacking in courage
and decency.

As for those among the readers of this blog who will again leap to
the defense of Dragon*Con and, as per usual, try to land insulting
“punches” on me, you’ll be wasting your time.  This blog’s comments
section will not become your venue for defending the indefensible.
Your insults will remain of no consequence or interest to me.  You
chose a side and it was clearly the wrong side.  All you can do now
is try to rationalize your poor choice.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. Many times, your "angry writer" posts merely make me feel sad. This time, you've made me feel angry as well. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Michael Kelly SchurmanDecember 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I commend you and Ms. Collins for speaking out against one who is an obvious evil sleazeball.

    The exploitation and abuse of those with little defense against this sort of horror, and the subsequent silence and inaction of those near the situation, are problems extending to all segments of our world's culture. From the hierarchy of the catholic church to the gossips in the convenience stores and cafes of small towns these crimes happen and are either covered up or publicly ignored. I don't know why.

    People say they want to defend institutions or the good done by the perpetrators in other areas of their lives. This is nonsense at best and a step toward obstruction of justice and complicity.

    House arrest, transferring a priest to fresh pickings or merely shaking one's head over the 50-year-old with a succession of 15-year-old girlfriends will not solve the problem. Hanging the bastards might help some, at least halting one individual's future evil actions. More than likely hanging them would offend too many yuppie sensibilities. I guess life in prison would have to do but I sure hate feeding them all that time.

  3. This is an all too common occurrence with drawn out prosecutions, especially if the attorney in charge of a prosecution changes in the interim. The prosecution loses sight of justice, and opts for whatever plea lets them both save some face and shed the case from their caseload. I don't know the inside details of this prosecution, but I know from experience that when it takes a long time to bring a case to trial, all sorts of other factors start happening; witnesses/victims disappear, or recant their testimony, evidence gets lost, etc. However, taking 12 years to bring a case to trial is absurd; even billionaire Bernie Madoff couldn't delay his punishment that long. Kramer's case just reeks of prosecutorial incompetence.

  4. I'd heard stories about Dragon*Con for years, but they were generally second hand, so you never can tell. The past couple of years or so as this case was approaching more people were stepping forward so it was hard to ignore what has happened. Thanks to Nancy Collins, yourself and others for not allowing the Dragon*Con folks to hide from what they had helped to continue. It will be interesting to see how events unfold between now and the next convention.

  5. Ron Clark: As to changes in the case due to the length of time between Kramer's arrest and trial, I know for a fact one of Kramer's original victims (there were originally 4) was murdered a couple years back, which necessitated the charges involving him being dropped. (He was the boy Kramer was arrested for molesting in 1996, which somehow managed to miss being covered in the media.) I have no doubt Kramer delayed everything in part because he knew Brandon and his brother were serving in Afghanistan and was banking on one or both of them being killed overseas.

  6. I don't know that I've ever been to a convention without some sort of... sleaze? Is it as bad as you've typed? I've seen some crazy doings at Origins and Ohayocon and other type deals but it tends to be isolated to some of the goers and vendors.

  7. Hi Nancy, and thanks for that information. Losing a victim's or witness' testimony isn't uncommon when there is a huge delay between the arrest and the trial. Defense attorneys are skilled at obtaining continuances for their clients (and again, I don't know the inside track on the prosecution on this case), but the 12 year delay in Kramer's case speaks more towards failures on the part of the District Attorney, and not just on the machinations of the defense. When you couple the trial delay with the prosecution's failure to keep track of the defendant, and failure to prosecute him on bail violations, it speaks to me of a case that was a low priority in the prosecutor's office. When the DA accepted an Alford plea with no incarceration, it was simply their way to pay lip service to justice being served, and at the same time get rid of the case. My impression is that, provided he lives long enough, we'll all be seeing Kramer's name in the news again.

    1. I have no doubt that DA Porter hates Kramer with a white hot passion. But I also believe that Kramer has benefited from some well-connected fellow pedophile in Georgia politics pulling strings for him behind the scenes. It is the only thing that explains this debacle.

  8. Tony I have just now read your Dragon Con. You hit all the right notes with it. It not just that Edward E. Kramer use his funding from Dragon con to hire the best legal team he could (we all would do that, guilty or innocent). It is has you pointed out in your blog, how that other owners of Dragon con stood with him that makes me never want to go to that con. I was a Children’s Social worker for NYC for over 15 years. And from my limited view of Ed Kramer’s case, he seems like a classical predator. I agree that Miss Collins is a hero for bringing this to light, I first hear of her campaign when Phil and Kaja Foglio announced that they would not do Dragon Con and why. I just wanted to applaud you for you blog post and bringing Dragon con’s treatment of her and him again to light. Thank you