KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eighty-two veterans who were sexually abused by former physician assistant Mark Wisner at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas, will divide nearly $7 million after settling their lawsuits against the government.
"For our 82 guys, this is the end of the story with Mark Wisner. Now, they get to start a story of the rest of their lives," said Dan Curry, who represented the men.
Wisner was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated criminal sodomy in 2017 and sentenced to 15 years and seven months in prison.
41 Action News first uncovered accusations against Wisner. Victims said he groped them without gloves during exams, over-prescribed opiates, and made sexual advances during doctor appointments.
"Mark Wisner used his position of trust to sexually abuse patients," one victim told 41 Action News.
In dozens of lawsuits, victims contended the U.S. government should have known that Wisner was a danger because he had a history of sexually inappropriate behavior and providing improper medical care.
One of the lawsuits cited Wisner's conviction in 1987 for a sex-related crime and complaints from VA patients in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
"The question mark in most people's minds, at least among my clients', is how could he have gotten away with it for so long, for so many years, with so many people," Curry said.
A former Jackson County judge, Jay Daugherty, determined how much each veteran received. The cases were settled months ago but Curry said the disbursements occurred recently.
There are still other lawsuits that have yet to be settled against the government over Wisner's actions. They are scheduled to go to trial next year.
Curry said he would like the accrediting body for hospitals to reopen its investigation into the hospital's handling of Wisner.
"People want to see changes at that hospital," he said. "You have to have a system set up that can catch this kind of problem and I don't think this was there."