BISMARCK — A Bismarck physician has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating prostitution at a massage parlor that listed him as the owner.
Craig Grorud, 66, is named in state records as the owner of the Hong Kong Spa in Bismarck, according to the North Dakota secretary of state's website. Criminal charges against Grorud allege that he knowingly allowed the business to be used for prostitution.
Grorud is licensed as a medical doctor in North Dakota and Minnesota, although it's unclear whether he was practicing medicine at the time of his arrest. Two major health systems in Bismarck, CHI St. Alexius Health and Sanford Health, said they have never employed him.
Grorud was being held at the Burleigh-Morton Detention Center on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Court records did not list an attorney for him.
His Sept. 10 arrest came after an investigation into a "prostitution ring" that included the Hong Kong Spa and the Tokyo Q Spa in Dickinson. Grorud and his two co-defendants, Jiang Jennings and Lance Jacobson, each face a Class C felony charge of facilitating prostitution in connection with the sting.
In July 2019, the Bismarck Police Department sent an undercover officer to the Hong Kong Spa to receive a massage, during which the masseuse asked him to remove his underwear several times and offered to perform sexual acts, according to court documents.
The Dickinson spa is registered with TM Enterprise Group LLC, under which the owner's address is listed as Grorud's address, according to court documents.
Last year, a Hong Kong Spa employee reported to the Bismarck police that the owners were not paying her fairly and asking her to perform sexual acts on customers. The employee identified Jennings and Jacobson as owners of the Hong Kong Spa, but she said they were paying Grorud $2,000 per month to have his name on the business records.
The employee identified Grorud in a lineup and identified him as "the 'false owner' of the business who the true owners had brought in," court documents stated.
Grorud has an active license in emergency medicine in North Dakota and an active license as a physician and surgeon in Minnesota. He has no record of previous disciplinary action.
In North Dakota, a doctor can receive disciplinary action for a felony or misdemeanor from the North Dakota Board of Medicine if it receives notice of the charges and determines the doctor's actions deem disciplinary measures necessary, said Bonnie Storbakken, the board's executive director.
Storbakken declined to say whether the board is considering disciplinary action against Grorud.
Disciplinary measures against North Dakota doctors depend on the nature of the charges and whether or not that person was convicted of a crime, she said. Discipline can range from a complete revocation of a medical license to a requirement to take educational courses.
In the criminal case, Grorud's preliminary hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at email@example.com.