Radio Psychologist Dead in Apparent Suicide
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ A radio talk-show psychologist apparently committed suicide just before today’s scheduled start of a trial on civil charges that he took advantage of a female patient for sex, authorities said.
Marshall Saper, host of a show on KCMO-AM in Kansas City, was found dead of a gunshot wound Sunday in a driveway leading to a medical building, Sgt. Larry Cohen said. Authorities didn’t know why he went there.
A small-caliber revolver was found at the scene and what appeared to be a suicide note was found at Saper’s house, police said. An autopsy report was expected today.
Trial was to begin today on a lawsuit a former patient and her husband filed in 1989 claiming Saper took advantage of their doctor-patient relationship and convinced her to start a sexual relationship with him in 1984.
A newspaper detailed the lawsuit and pending trial Saturday. Saper had denied the woman’s claims.
Skip Stow, KCMO vice president and general manager, said he met with Saper as recently as Friday ″to let him know that the station was 100 percent behind him.
″All he could think about was going in and vindicating himself and winning this case,″ Stow said.
In addition to the lawsuit pending against Saper, state officials in Kansas had planned to investigate whether Saper violated the code of professional ethics governing licensed psychologists.
Saper, who began hosting his radio program in 1980, also had a private practice in Kansas City, Mo. His show drew about 80,000 listeners weekly, Stow said.
″Marshall has saved literally hundreds of lives and counseled thousands of people,″ Stow said. ″It’s unfortunate that this happened, but that doesn’t mean the advice and counsel he gave people was any less credible.″