Back in February Deadline went behind the boycott of popular Atlanta sci-fi convention DragonCon, whose co-founder Ed Kramer avoided trial on child molestation charges for over a decade while receiving income from the annual fan fest. This morning in Gwinnett County, GA, the embattled Kramer pleaded guilty to three counts of child molestation and was sentenced to 34 months under house arrest — instead of the 20-year term recommended by the Gwinnett County DA’s office. It’s the latest apparent break for Kramer, whose health complaints led to numerous delays in a 13-year series of evasive legal motions believed to have been financed by his reported $150K per year (in 2011) shareholder cash flow from DragonCon. But as Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter explained to Deadline today, “We wanted a resolution of the case and the victims wanted a resolution of the case and they agreed to the recommendations.” Under the court’s nine-condition agreement, if the 52-year-old Kramer violates even a single term he could land back in prison for up to 60 years. Those include failing to pay each victim a $100K restitution, violating his house arrest, or coming in contact with any person under the age of 16. “I believe he’ll violate his probation and we’ll have him in prison eventually,” said Porter, who has been on the Kramer case since 2005. “I think he’ll most likely try and figure out a way to come in contact with children, and that’s where I’ll get him.”
Meanwhile, DragonCon’s organizers have cause for relief. Kramer co-created the popular Atlanta sci-fi and pop culture convention in 1987 and until last week was receiving income from the booming fest as a 31% minority shareholder. DragonCon had long come under fire for their connection to Kramer and outrage came to a head earlier this year when a group led by horror author Nancy Collins and Transformers producer Don Murphy called for a boycott of the event. Kramer hasn’t had an official role in the fan fest since 2000 but the cloud lingered over DragonCon and its remaining shareholders. Last week the organization officially severed financial ties to Kramer when they closed a payoff settlement merging DragonCon owner Dragon*Con/ACE Inc. with new corporation Dragon Con, Inc. The org’s board filed in July but Kramer initially dissented, forcing DragonCon’s shareholders to sue to force his cash-out. “There were lots of reasons I did this and one was to divest him of his DragonCon profits,” DA Porter explained. “Based on numbers I heard a third of it will go to the victims.”
Kramer was initially arrested in 2000 after two boys aged 13 and 15 alleged he’d abused them for a four-year period. A third victim subsequently came forward and joined the case in 2003. Kramer staved off trial through legal maneuvering and health complaints for years; while awaiting trial in Gwinnett County this year, he reportedly filed 370 requests and complaints in six months, averaging two per day. He was taken off of house arrest in 2009, but was arrested in Connecticut in 2011 after he was allegedly found alone in a hotel room with a 14 year old. Kramer today pleaded guilty to three of six counts of child molestation pertaining to three victims.
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