Archive for Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Victims’ rights advocate resigns, citing red tape, lack of resources

November 10, 2004

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— A little more than a year after being appointed by Atty. Gen. Phill Kline as the state's victims' rights coordinator, Gene Schmidt has resigned.

Schmidt, whose 19-year-old daughter, Pittsburg State University student Stephanie Schmidt, was murdered in 1993, said he would continue to work with crime victims -- just not in the public sector.

He said among the reasons he decided to step down were red tape and reduced resources in the attorney general's crime victim division.

"It's now crime victims' services, which consists of me and two other people," Schmidt said. "Before, it was an extensive staff that allowed us to get out and examine programs, visit with victims and monitor grants."

He said he and his wife, Peggy, could accomplish more in the private sector.

"I'm going to go back and work with victims outside the political arena," he said.

Schmidt was appointed by Kline in July 2003. He and his wife became known for their advocacy after their daughter was killed 10 years earlier by Donald Ray Gideon, with whom she worked at a Pittsburg restaurant.

Whitney Watson, Kline's spokesman, said the coordinator's position would be filled, but he doesn't know when.

"He served well, and he's a good friend of the office," Watson said of Schmidt. "More important, he is a good friend to victims across the state and the country."

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