Press "Enter" to skip to content

Opinion Wisconsin has a chance to stand up for victims of sex trafficking. It must.

Sara Kruzan: Chrystul Kizer was 16 when she was sexually abused and trafficked by a child predator. She shot and killed her abuser, then prosecuted for first-degree murder, despite a 2008 law that sought to protect children in her position. She says the trial judge wouldn't allow her attorneys to pursue the defense granted to her under state statute, declaring it was not meant to extend to violent crimes. Kruzan says she was also sexually exploited by an adult in the mid-1990s and sentenced to life without parole plus four years in prison. In California, she says, Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned her, but she never should have been prosecuted in the first place, let alone tried as an adult, as a victim of trafficking.

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael D. Graveley should drop the charges against Chrystul. She is a child victim, not a criminal, and she was still a child when she took the actions that led to her wrongful prosecution. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers should follow the lead of other governors and defend her.