A former top in-house attorney at Florida State University and a former general counsel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is now a convicted sex offender.
Dayton Michael Cramer, former deputy general counsel at FSU, faces a prison term of 10 years to life after a federal jury convicted him Wednesday of attempted enticement of a minor.
Florida State spokeswoman Amy Farnum Patronis declined comment Thursday, but Cramer’s online profile shows the Tallahassee attorney once helped lead the university’s law staff. He was placed on leave after his arrest, and The Associated Press reported he resigned from the $156,000-a-year position soon afterward.
Cramer, 71, has been an attorney for about 46 years. He attended the Catholic University of America and Columbus School of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1971. His Florida Bar file shows no disciplinary history in the last 10 years and service on the bar’s education law committee.
Cramer is a a retired U.S. Army colonel. His decadeslong career included stints as chief legal counsel at West Point and senior law clerk to former U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey, who adjudicated the Watergate civil trial.
Cramer and his attorney, Russell Timothy Jansen of Jansen & Davis in Tallahassee, did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported Jansen said he believes the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction, and he plans to appeal the verdict.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrested Cramer and 11 others in Operation Cupid’s Arrow, a weeklong sting in February 2017.
Investigators posed as children or offered access to children to catch sexual predators using instant messages, texts and online classified ads on dating sites, social media networks and chat rooms.
“Suspects came from all backgrounds, from a college student to an attorney,” according to FDLE. “All suspects believed they were speaking with underage children.”
Cramer answered two postings by undercover agents on Craigslist, a classified ad website, a federal affidavit said. He thought he was talking to a 14-year-old girl and a woman who offered her 13-year-old stepdaughter for sex, according to a Department of Justice news release.
The woman was “trying to get her stepdaughter some ‘experience’ from an older man,” the affidavit said.
“Over the course of several days, Cramer discussed sexual activity with various undercover officers and traveled to meet who he thought was the stepmother of the 13-year-old girl to discuss the opportunity to have sex with the girl at a later date,” according to the DOJ.
Cramer exchanged several emails with an agent, indicating he knew the child was 13 and identifying himself as a married 59-year-old lawyer with two daughters who “had sex with teens when I was stationed in Thailand many years ago,” the affidavit said.
He described in graphic detail the sexual acts he would perform on and with the girl to teach her about sex. He also emailed a picture of his genitals, according to the affidavit. Cramer was arrested after he arrived at the designated meeting place.
Cramer’s LinkedIn profile said he joined FSU as deputy GC in November 2000. Prior to joining the 42,000-student university, he was a colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His 29-year stint included three tours at the Pentagon, three in Germany and one at the U.S. Military Academy, the profile states.
It also said Cramer was managing editor of the Catholic University of America Law Review, supervised 12 in-house lawyers at FSU and is a past president and club service director of the Rotary Club of Tallahassee Northside.