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
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
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
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
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
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
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