More than a year after losing his medical license when regulators ruled he molested several female patients starting many years ago, a former Twin Cities plastic surgeon agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to gross misdemeanor counts of mistreating patients.

Christopher J. Kovanda, 57, of Minneapolis was initially charged in November in Hennepin County District Court with two gross misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from assaults of two women in 2019 and 2021.

The plea agreement between prosecutors and the defense calls for the sexual assault charges to be dismissed and replaced with the mistreatment of patient counts. The agreement also includes that a 364-day jail term be set aside and instead impose on Kovanda 1½ months of electronic home monitoring.

"I ill-treated two patients while conducting exams by touching patients and making lewd comments, which caused both patients anxiety and physical discomfort," Kovanda explained in the plea filing.

Sentencing before Judge Lisa Janzen is scheduled for Nov. 1, when she will decide whether to accept the terms of the plea deal.

Michael Hall, an attorney who has represented one of the women in a civil filing against Kovanda, said the plea agreement was "disappointing. This man is a danger in our community, and he is still out there. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is too common. ... Perpetrators are out there, and they are going to do what they do unless we do something to stop them. Here, for example, that means a mandated observer in the room."

Jeff Montpetit, an attorney for a woman who reached a confidential settlement with Kovanda in a civil case, said, "I applaud the Hennepin County Attorney's Office for investigating and pursuing charges. ... It's a tangible measure of justice for the victims, who I hope find healing in this process. And while the plea deal might be slightly disappointing, it sends a clear and convincing message of criminal accountability in the physician/patient relationship."

Kovanda's attorney declined to take questions about the plea agreement. The County Attorney's Office has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice disclosed in August 2022 that Kovanda was no longer licensed to practice medicine in the state because of "conduct with a patient which is sexual or may reasonably be interpreted by the patient as sexual, or in any verbal behavior which is seductive or sexually demeaning to a patient." Some of the alleged incidents date to 2008.

The board also levied a civil penalty of $15,360 to cover the costs of the agency's investigation and related proceedings.

Also under Tuesday's plea deal, Kovanda agreed to not apply to have his license restored during the two years he's on probation. Revocation in Minnesota is not considered a lifetime ban, said Ruth Martinez, who was the board's executive director at the time it sanctioned Kovanda.

However, "off the top of my head," said Martinez, who had been with the board since 1988 until her retirement this year, "I'm not recalling someone who's come back from a revocation."

Kovanda's last clinic was on Excelsior Avenue in Minneapolis, and he previously practiced in Maple Grove, in the 50th & France retail district of Edina as Kovanda Plastic Surgery, and before that as a partner at Midwest Plastic Surgery in the Southdale Medical Building, also in Edina.

According to the complaint:

A woman told the medical board that in November 2019 Kovanda pressed his groin against her feet while her legs were raised, then ordered the nurse to leave the examination room in Edina before he pushed his groin against her underwear.

A second woman went to Minneapolis police and said Kovanda brought her to a room in Abbott Northwestern Hospital in January 2021, directed her to take off all her clothes and ran his hands up her body and said, " 'Ooh, you're going to be perfect.' "

In a follow-up visit in June 2021, the woman alleged, Kovanda was aroused as he ran his groin along her bare buttocks. She also said he acted sexually aggressive toward her in follow-up visits.

Along with the two women whose accusations were the basis for the charges, the criminal complaint listed five other patients of Kovanda's who alleged that he molested them during office visits either in Edina or Minneapolis.