A former physician assistant was found guilty Wednesday of sexually abusing patients at the veterans hospital in Leavenworth.
A Leavenworth County jury convicted Horton, Kansas, resident Mark E. Wisner, 66, of one felony count each of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated criminal sodomy and three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. The crimes occurred between 2012 and 2014.
Wisner is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 29.
The jury returned its verdict after four former patients testified for the prosecution, describing how Wisner had groped and molested them while administering physical exams at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth.
Wisner did not take the stand in his own defense. But during the second day of his trial on Tuesday, jurors heard a recording of Wisner speaking to investigators in 2015, according to the Leavenworth Times.
“I don’t feel good about myself,” Wisner said on the recording, according to the newspaper. “I don’t feel good about what happened to these patients.”
The Times said that Wisner told the investigators that he had “no control.”
“I don’t have any business in medicine, period,” Wisner said on the recording, according to the newspaper.
More than 60 of Wisner’s patients have sued the federal government, claiming it knew or should have known that Wisner was a danger to patients and had a history of providing improper medical care and victimizing patients. They also allege that he overprescribed painkillers and other medications.
One of the lawsuits, filed by a disabled veteran, says that Wisner was convicted of a sex-related crime in 1987, had been reported for sexually inappropriate conduct by a Kansas nurse in 1999 and was the subject of complaints by VA patients in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages that, collectively, add up to tens of millions of dollars.
A federal judge earlier this year refused to dismiss one of the lawsuits, opening the floodgates to the dozens of lawsuits that have since been filed by other patients. The judge rejected the government’s argument that it was not liable for Wisner’s conduct because it occurred outside the scope of his employment.
Wisner surrendered his license to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts in February 2015.
Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.