HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. – A former physician who practiced cosmetic surgery at clinics in Edina, Minneapolis, and Maple Grove has been offered a plea deal with no jail time after facing accusations of sexually molesting two women and potentially at least five others.
Christopher John Kovanda, 57, was charged last fall with two gross misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly engaging in non-consensual sexual conduct with two separate patients.
The criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court states that Kovanda, who owned and operated Kovanda Aesthetic Surgery, had a history of prior complaints to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (Board) involving allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct including sexual remarks, unwanted touching, and/or sexual intercourse. In 2014, Kovanda’s medical license was placed on conditional status as a result of inappropriate sexual conduct with a patient. In August 2022, Kovanda’s license was revoked because of unwanted sexual touching directed at several patients.
The charge in the first count states that “Victim 1” filed a complaint with the Board in June 2021 stemming from an incident in 2019 alleging that Kovanda sexually assaulted her just prior to performing surgery on her at his office in Edina. She described that while being prepped for surgery in the pre-op room, she was seated in a chair with her legs up. Kovanda then pressed his groin against her feet and then against her genitals while he was aroused.
The charge in the second count describes that in November 2021, “Victim 2” made a police report stating that Kovanda inappropriately touched her during several pre- and post-op appointments beginning in January 2021. In that appointment, the victim said that she was at Abbott Hospital prior to her first surgery when Kovanda brought her into a room to mark her for surgery and had her get completely naked and stand in front of a mirror. He then ran his hands up her naked body and said, “Ooh, you’re going to be perfect.”
Victim 2 described two subsequent follow-up appointments during which Kovanda rubbed his groin against her bare back side while aroused and pulled her to him in one incident. In the other incident, Kovanda had her get completely naked and then ran his hand along her body, even in areas where she did not have sutures, including right above her genitals.
The criminal complaint outlined incidents with five other victims that the prosecution intended to enter as evidence at trial of Kovanda’s “common scheme or plan” of inappropriately touching women who came to him as patients under the guise of providing medical care. Two of the five other incident complaints dated back to 2008; others were in 2010, 2011, and 2018.
Kovanda was offered a plea deal this week diluting the two charges down to gross misdemeanor charges of mistreatment of patients. The plea deal indicates that in exchange for a guilty plea on the mistreatment charges, the counts involving non-consensual sexual contact will be dismissed at sentencing. The deal calls for 45 days of electronic home monitoring and two years of probation. During probation, Kovanda may not apply for a new medical license.
Kovanda’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1 in front of Judge Lisa K. Janzen.
Note: Kovanda was originally charged by summons as opposed to an arrest warrant, so a booking photo was not immediately able to be obtained or may not exist.
Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.
This article originally appeared at Alpha News and was reprinted with permission.