Former Edina plastic surgeon pleads guilty to mistreatment of patients after criminal sexual conduct investigation

A former plastic surgeon accused of inappropriately touching patients under his care agreed to a deal that saw him plead guilty to gross misdemeanor charges last week.

Christopher John Kovanda, 57, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to two counts of mistreatment of patients on Sept. 5 after being accused by multiple women of criminal sexual conduct.

His sentencing date is set for the morning of Nov. 1, but according to a guilty plea petition, prosecutors agreed to 45 days of electronic home monitoring and a stayed sentence of 364 days in jail if he violates the terms of his release, which includes two years of probation.

The plea deal adds that Kovanda cannot apply for a medical license during his probation, which was revoked in 2022.

The criminal complaint details accusations from several women made from 2008 to 2021, but the criminal investigation focuses on two incidents in June and November of 2021.

The first count of criminal sexual conduct comes from a woman who reported in June 2021 that she was assaulted by Kovanda in November 2019. The victim said the attack happened when she was being prepped for surgery in Kovanda’s Edina office. The complaint states that Kovanda rubbed his erect genitalia against the victim’s feet and before telling the nurse to leave the room. Kovanda allegedly grabbed the victim’s lower back and buttocks and pulled her close while pushing himself against her private areas with his face close to hers. The court document states the victim pushed Kovanda away “after overcoming the shock” and he “proceeded to act as if nothing happened.”

The second count of criminal sexual conduct is based on incidents that happened throughout 2021 and were reported in November of that year. The victim said the first incident happened on Jan. 15 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital when Kovanda brought her into a room to be marked for surgery. The victim was told to stand naked in front of a mirror, and Kovanda reportedly ran his hand up her naked body. The complaint states Kovanda said, “Ooh, you’re going to be perfect.”

The victim said that during a follow-up surgery on June 15, 2021, she was again instructed to stand completely naked in front of a mirror. The complaint states that Kovanda got on his knees and ran his body up her backside as he stood up. The victim reported feeling his erect genitalia against her as he pulled her body back toward him. The complaint states Kovanda said something to the effect of “you’re going to look great.”

The victim said inappropriate touching also happened at another post-op appointment in July 2021, when Kovanda ran his hand along places where she did not have sutures and placed his face close to her private area.

The complaint included reports from five other women who detailed similar behavior from Kovanda.