A judge has consolidated the two criminal cases of a former physician assistant accused of sexually abusing patients at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth.

A judge has consolidated the two criminal cases of a former physician assistant accused of sexually abusing patients at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth.

The decision came Thursday during a hearing in the case of Mark E. Wisner.

Wisner is charged with one felony count of aggravated sexual battery, one felony count of aggravated criminal sodomy and three misdemeanor charges of sexual battery. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between 2012 and 2014.

The criminal charges against Wisner had been filed in separate cases. But Assistant County Attorney Michael Jones filed a motion seeking to consolidate the two cases.

Arguing in favor of the motion Thursday, Jones noted that all of the charges involve allegations of sexual assault while the defendant was working at the VA hospital as a physician assistant.

Jones said he also believes the evidence will demonstrate that there was a common scheme or method of operation on the part of the defendant.

Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, Wisner’s court-appointed attorney, John Bryant, filed a motion arguing against the consolidation of the two cases. And Bryant requested that the aggravated criminal sodomy charge be severed into a third case.

During Thursday’s hearing, Bryant expressed concern that if all of the charges are tried together, jurors may think Wisner must have done something and feel they have to return a guilty verdict.

District Judge Gunnar Sundby said the prosecution had met the burden of proof for consolidating the two cases.

Sundby said the prosecution could have previously filed all of the charges as one complaint.

With the exception of different victims, the evidence in the two cases would be substantially the same, Sundby said.

“The investigators would be the same,” he said.

The judge said he has found jurors of Leavenworth County to be of good quality. He said jurors consider each count individually.

One of Wisner’s cases had been scheduled to go to trial Oct. 31.

But Bryant requested a continuance of the trial date. The lawyer said he has had difficulty in locating a possible expert witness.

Bryant said he also needs to obtain records from the VA hospital.

Jones said he was ready to proceed to trial for all charges.

But the prosecutor acknowledged that he thought there might be a continuance if the motion for consolidation was granted.

On that grounds, Jones said he would not object to the defense’s request for a continuance.

“The court will grant the motion to continue,” Sundby said.

Bryant requested to have a pretrial conference before a new trial date is scheduled.

The pretrial conference was scheduled for Nov. 4. Sundby said pretrial motions also can be taken up at that time.

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