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Former Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan dies at 89

Bob Stephan
Kansas Attorney General's office
Bob Stephan

Stephan, a Republican, served as attorney general from 1979 to 1995, the longest tenure in the office in Kansas.

TOPEKA — Former Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan, who emphasized victims' rights and consumer protection during four terms in office, has died at the age of 89.

Stephan died overnight, his brother, Don Stephan, told Kansas media on Tuesday. No cause of death was released.

Stephan, a Republican and Wichita native, served as attorney general from 1979 to 1995, the longest tenure in that office in Kansas history. He first won the office after surviving cancer, an experience that later prompted him to support legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Stephan helped develop a victims’ rights amendment to the Kansas Constitution and emphasized consumer protection. His tenure also included legal battles involving Democratic Gov. Joan Finney’s role in negotiating with American Indian tribes on casino gambling and challenging the Posse Comitatus militia movement in western Kansas.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement Tuesday that Stephan left a lasting mark on the office during his tenure, particularly in the areas of crime victims' rights and consumer protection.

Stephan's political career stalled after two lawsuits filed by a former clerk who accused him of sexually harassing her and of breach of contract when he revealed the amount of the settlement in the first lawsuit.

A grand jury alleged Stephan lied when he testified in the second lawsuit. He was acquitted in 1995.

After leaving office, Stephan lived in Lenexa, where he was a corporate legal consultant.

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