A former priest who was defrocked after allegations of child sexual abuse has also lost his licenses to practice medicine.
Sex Abuse Allegations
The Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas began receiving allegations of sexual abuse of minors against Reverend John H. Wisner beginning in May 2012. Reverend Wisner was immediately suspended from active ministry and law enforcement was notified.
The archdiocese conducted an investigation and found the allegations to be credible. In November 2012, archdiocesan officials sent the results to the Vatican.
Wisner denied that he had engaged in sexual misconduct. He was never criminally charged in connection with the allegations.
The Reverend John H. Wisner was laicized, or returned to the lay state, by a decree issued by Joseph F. Naumann on December 21, 2017. The order was affirmed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on March 2, 2018. The announcement was published on May 25, 2018 in The Leaven, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City.
Wisner had been ordained in 1972. He served as an associate pastor at St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park and worked at Sacred Heart and Christ the King parishes in Kansas City, Kansas, and St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee.
Wisner also had been an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department. He retired in September 2012.
Lost Medical Licenses
Despite Wisner’s defrocking, his medical licenses remained active for months afterward. This fact was reported by the Kansas City Star in September 2018. Victims’ advocates voiced their opinions that Wisner should not be allowed to retain his medical license. “This is a matter of protecting the public,” said Patrick Wall, a former Catholic priest who works as an investigator for a Minnesota law firm that represents sex abuse victims. “Just because he was granted a medical license at one time doesn’t mean he has a right to have it for life.”
However, Kansas medical registration records now list Wisner’s license as inactive. Wisner’s medical license was not due to expire until July 31.
According to Kathleen Selzler Lippert, executive director of the State Board of Healing Arts, Kansas uses the inactive designation to designate a person who isn’t regularly practicing medicine in the state and “who does not hold oneself out to the public as being professionally engaged in such practice.”
Wisner’s license to practice medicine in Missouri was not revoked; it lapsed because it wasn’t renewed.
Wisner, 72, has declined to comment on the abuse allegations.
Former Expert Witness Practice
Wisner spent many years as a psychiatrist expert witness in civil and criminal trials including high-profile murder cases and sexual abuse cases.
Rebecca Randles, an attorney who has represented hundreds of sexual abuse victims in Kansas City, has said that Wisner’s medical license status is a cause for both relief and concern. She said, “Because his license lapsed or was not renewed, the board likely lost jurisdiction to act on it.” This means that Wisner could seek reinstatement of his medical license in the state or elsewhere.