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Gov't Working Hard To Dismiss Vets' Sex Abuse Lawsuits Against VA Worker
Lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by a former health care provider at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth, Kan., are piling up and an attorney for many of the plaintiffs said the federal government is putting up an unusual fight against the suits given the circumstances.
“They are definitely fighting hard on behalf of the VA,” Dan Curry said.
Curry is one of several attorneys representing dozens of military veterans who are suing the U.S. government and Mark Wisner, a former physician assistant at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center.
Wisner is facing criminal charges of aggravated sexual battery and sexual battery in Leavenworth County District Court, after his April 3 court date was delayed to Aug. 28.
Veterans who say Wisner made inappropriate comments and physical contact during exams continue to come forward and file civil suits. As of Friday, there were 37 federal lawsuits pending against Wisner and the government. Curry said he has enough cases in the works to push the number past 50.
Under the federal tort claims act, all of the plaintiffs had to be denied an administrative settlement by the VA before they could take their case to court. Now that they’ve gone to court, Curry said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed to have at least 10 of the suits dismissed.
Curry said that’s not unusual in lawsuits against private-sector employers, but it is unusual for a government agency with a former employee who has been criminally charged.
“It’s rare in civil litigation to have a wrongdoer sitting in a jail waiting for his trial and then have the United States continuing to press a dissent,” Curry said. “He did these acts, there’s no question in my mind and I think these veterans are all very credible, but what we’re up against is just a battery of technical arguments.”
Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas, declined to comment.
Curry said the VA’s potential liability should become more clear soon, as a trove of discovery documents is due to arrive soon.
“Who knew what and when is what it’s going to show us,” Curry said. “We know for a fact there were several veterans who went to various people at the VA hospital there and questioned Wisner’s conduct. So there should be records of them reporting him in some instances or just questioning what was happening.”
Curry said the documents could number in the tens of thousands and will take some time to sift through.
The criminal charges against Wisner allege that he committed sexual abuse against patients between 2012 and 2014.
He voluntarily surrendered his license to practice as a physician assistant in February 2015. In doing so, he signed documents agreeing to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts’ finding that he had “used his position as a Physician Assistant at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas, to commit sexual battery crimes against veteran patients.”
©2017 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
13 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with crimes related to smuggling of undocumented immigrants from Mexico
Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.
The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.
In leaked documents, Army family reports waiting weeks to have gas line and roof leaks fixed in on-base housing
As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.
And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.