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North Dakota doctor pleads guilty to promoting prostitution at Bismarck spa

Craig Grorud was arrested Sept. 10 after an investigation into a prostitution ring that involved Bismarck and Dickinson massage parlors, according to court documents.

craig grorud.jpg
Craig Grorud

BISMARCK — A North Dakota physician accused of promoting prostitution has been ordered to serve two years of supervised probation and take part in an offender education program.

Craig Grorud, 67, pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor of promoting prostitution after being charged with a felony count of facilitating prostitution at the Hong Kong Spa, a Bismarck massage parlor.

The North Dakota Secretary of State's website says Grorud was the owner of the spa.

"Specifically, I admit that I promoted a prostitution business or a house of prostitution, but that I did not own, control, manage, or otherwise supervise the prostitution business or house of prostitution," Grorud said in his guilty plea, which he entered Thursday, March 25.

Grorud was a licensed physician in North Dakota and Minnesota at the time of his arrest in September, but since then both of his licenses have expired. It's unclear if he was practicing medicine at the time of his arrest.

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He was arrested Sept. 10 after an investigation into a prostitution ring that included the Hong Kong Spa and a massage parlor in Dickinson, according to court documents.

He and two other defendants, Jiang Jennings and Lance Jacobson, each were charged with a felony count of facilitating prostitution in connection with the investigation. Jennings and Jacobson are expected to be sentenced at a later date.

Last year, a Hong Kong Spa employee reported to Bismarck police that the owners were not paying her fairly and asking her to perform sexual acts on customers, according to court records.

As part of his plea deal, Grorud must attend classes through the Demand Reduction Program, which aims to prevent offenders from repeating criminal behavior by teaching them about the impacts of sex trafficking and prostitution. The program, created by the Attorney General's Office, consists of five eight-hour sessions.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at mgriffith@forumcomm.com.

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