A former physician assistant has been found guilty of sexually abusing patients at the Leavenworth veterans hospital.

Updated: 6:17 p.m. Aug. 30, 2017

 

A former physician assistant has been found guilty of sexually abusing patients at the Leavenworth veterans hospital.

The verdict came late Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Mark E. Wisner.

Wisner was found guilty of all charges – one felony count of aggravated sexual battery, one felony count of aggravated criminal sodomy and three misdemeanor charges of sexual battery, according to Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones, who prosecuted the case.

The crimes occurred between 2012 and 2014 while Wisner was working at the Eisenhower VA Medical Center.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Leavenworth County District Court.

According to Jones, Wisner could face nearly 13 years in prison for the aggravated criminal sodomy charge and more than 2.5 years in prison for the aggravated sexual battery charge. He also could face a year in jail for each of the three misdemeanor charges.

The trial began Monday. The prosecution rested its case before a lunch break Wednesday. When the proceedings resumed after lunch, Wisner’s attorney, John Bryant, said the defense was resting its case without calling any witnesses to testify.

District Judge Gunnar Sundby questioned Wisner regarding his decision not testify during his trial.

The judge said the defendant should listen carefully to the advice of his attorney. But Sundby said it ultimately was Wisner’s decision.

Wisner said he did not intend to testify.

Two prosecution witnesses testified Wednesday morning before Jones rested his case.

Lt. Josh Patzwald of the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office testified that he interviewed some of the victims in the case. He and a special agent from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General interviewed Wisner.

An audio recording of the interview had been played in court Wednesday.

Joshana Offenbach, associate disciplinary counsel for the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, also testified Wednesday morning.

Offenbach said she worked on a consent order that Wisner signed when he surrendered his medical license in 2015.

The consent order included information about allegations of misconduct.

Attorneys made their closing arguments before jurors began their deliberations.

Jones argued that Wisner confirmed many of the allegations against him in the recorded interview that had been played during the trial.

“Mr. Wisner’s own statements confirm what the state’s witnesses told you,” he said.

Jones argued that Wisner also admitted to sexual assault, sexual battery and over prescribing medication by signing the consent order from the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.

During his closing arguments, Bryant argued the prosecution had not proven that Wisner committed the crimes.

“It’s not Mr. Wisner’s burden of proof ladies and gentleman,” Bryant said. “It’s the state’s burden of proof.”

Bryant acknowledged that comments made by Wisner during the recorded interview may cause discomfort. The defense attorney said jurors may feel they have to convict Wisner of something.

But Bryant argued that at the time of the interview, Wisner was being confronted at his home and was not provided any records to review. The defense attorney said the investigators put nothing into context during the interview.

Bryant questioned why an earlier interview of Wisner had not been recorded.

The defense attorney said investigators had not interviewed various people whose names were mentioned by witnesses during the trial. Bryant also noted that no medical professional had testified during the trial regarding which examinations conducted by the defendant were inappropriate.

During his rebuttal closing argument, Jones said none of the victims had known each other. But they provided similar stories in court regarding their encounters with Wisner.

“Pay attention to what the evidence is,” Jones said.

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