Dan Kelly’s Allies Threaten and Traumatize Sexual Assault Victim

Mar 30, 2023

Dan Kelly’s Allies Threaten and Traumatize Sexual Assault Victim

MADISON, Wis. — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today on irresponsible and inaccurate Supreme Court ads aired in support of Dan Kelly by Fair Courts America and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, two far-right special interest groups.

The Journal Sentinel reports that the survivor’s story was featured in the ads without her consent, and used information out of context to misrepresent Judge Protasiewicz’s handling of the case, retraumatizing the victim of this horrific assault.

Here are the key points from the Journal Sentinel’s reporting:

  • The victim in this case was retraumatized by WMC’s advertisements. The Journal Sentinel reports that the victim in this case, identified as Emily, received a phone call at work about her 2019 assault “that instantly transported her back to the aftermath of her assault.” As a result of the ad airing, Emily said she “readjusted my life” to include removing streaming services from her TV at home to avoid seeing the ad.
  • The group threatened to run the ad, with or without her approval. The Journal Sentinel reports, “Emily was told she could participate if she wanted — to have some control of the narrative in the ad — but it was going to run whether she approved or not.”
  • The victim was repeatedly harassed by the group, even after she declined to participate. According to the report, the victim was called 10 times and continued to receive messages from the group. She was also sent a copy of the ad when it began airing.
  • The victim stated she was “100% satisfied” with Judge Janet Protasiewicz’s handling of the case. Contrary to the ad’s claims, Emily’s input on her attackers sentencing was heard in chambers, and Judge Protasiewicz gave a sentence with which she was “100% satisfied.”
  • Dan Kelly’s campaign refuses to condemn this false and misleading advertising. Asked to comment on WMC’s ad, Kelly campaign spokesman Ben Voelkel declined. Kelly’s attempt to distance himself from WMC’s efforts to prop up his campaign by retraumatizing an assault victim is shameful. To make matters worse, this is not even the first time WMC has retraumatized crime victims with their dark money political advertising.

“Both Fair Courts America and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce have proven time and again that they will stop at nothing to advance their own extreme political aims—to include repeatedly harassing victims of crime,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Haley McCoy. “Kelly’s If Dan Kelly had any experience as a front-line prosecutor or circuit court judge, he would recognize the deep harm this shameful ad has caused, and would immediately call for his dark money benefactor to pull it off the air.”