WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today issued the following statement regarding former Leavenworth VA Physician Assistant Mark Wisner’s sentencing for sexual crimes against his veteran patients:
“Wisner's sentencing brings a measure of justice to the veterans who endured pain and suffering at the hands of an individual that never should have been allowed to treat them,” said Sen. Moran. “Though nothing can erase the harm Mr. Wisner has done, his sentencing is a start. Since learning of Wisner’s crimes, we have been successful in changing the law to make certain that those who violate the sacred trust of our veterans in such an egregious manner can never again be rewarded with unjustly guaranteed benefits at taxpayer expense. No one should ever look the other way, and never should this abuse of veterans be tolerated.”
Following multiple allegations of sexual abuse in the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System against former Physician Assistant Mark Wisner, Sen. Moran repeatedly pressed the VA for answers as to how his egregious actions against veterans could occur and how, after the allegations were confirmed by Mr. Wisner himself, he could have been allowed to retire from the VA, retaining his pension and benefits.
In a September 2016 letter, Sen. Moran wrote to then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald to question the VA’s processes for hiring staff who apply at the VA and have previous criminal records like Mr. Wisner. Later that month, Sen. Moran introduced legislation, the Accountability to Safeguard Veterans from Violent Crimes Act of 2016, to reduce pensions earned by certain VA health care employees who are convicted of a crime of violence against a veteran. This bipartisan legislation, which passed the full Senate in December of 2016, would hold accountable those individuals who exploit their position in patient care to abuse veterans. Sen. Moran re-introduced legislation this Congress to make certain that senior VA executives and health care employees convicted of a felony related to their position at the VA would not receive the same benefits as those who honorably serve our nation’s veterans. Sen. Moran’s provisions were expanded to all VA employees and included in the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which passed the Senate on June 7 and was signed into law on June 23.
Mr. Wisner was charged with aggravated sexual battery, aggravated criminal sodomy and misdemeanor sexual battery and faced numerous federal lawsuits stemming from his actions as an employee of the VA.