Iron Range doctor admits to groping patient, will give up license
The 73-year-old Eveleth practitioner pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor Monday, acknowledging there was no legitimate medical purpose for the sexual contact that the patient captured on video.
An Iron Range doctor on Monday agreed to permanently surrender his medical license as he admitted to sexually assaulting a patient.
Dr. Edmund William Draper, 73, pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor count of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct at a hearing in State District Court in Virginia.
Draper, of Biwabik Township, has not practiced since at least August 2019 — some four months after he was formally accused of repeatedly groping and kissing a patient who made frequent visits to his Eveleth office. But the plea agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office now ensures that he will never do so again.
"Would you agree that you did use your hands to squeeze (the victim's) buttocks and the side of her breasts?" defense attorney Mark Arneson asked at the Zoom hearing.
"Yes," Draper replied.
"And you did so without her consent?"
"Yes, the doctor affirmed.
Draper further acknowledged under questioning from prosecutor Jessica Fralich that his actions amounted to the legal definition of "sexual contact" and that there was no legitimate medical purpose for it.
Draper was charged in April 2019, about three months after the victim first reported that the doctor had been groping and kissing her during her monthly pain management meetings. According to a criminal complaint, the woman was able to provide cellphone video corroborating her account.
"He would also cup her breasts on the side, over her clothes, and pull her into a hug at which point he would use his hands to grab her buttocks and squeeze," the complaint stated. "The victim said the defendant would also kiss her."
Police said the Jan. 11, 2019, video recorded by the victim showed Draper touching the victim's breasts, pulling her into a hug and kissing her on the lips. The victim was described as appearing "uncomfortable with this behavior." Nonetheless, Draper was then seen grabbing her buttocks and again pulling her into a hug and kiss.
"The victim reported she was in shock at the defendant's behavior and it has made her feel 'confused and gross,'" the complaint stated. "She also noted that the defendant would withhold giving her a prescription until after he, as she described, 'copped a feel.'"
Police said the video confirmed that the patient was not given her prescription until after Draper groped and kissed her.
The victim told police that she had started looking for a new doctor as a result of Draper's behavior, with her disclosure to another physician apparently resulting in the filing of a complaint at the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. She then received a letter from Draper terminating their relationship.
Draper in August 2019 entered into a stipulation with the medical board, agreeing to immediately cease practice, pending further disciplinary findings or stipulation.
Draper earned his medical degree in 1975 from the University of Bristol in his native England. Records show that he was certified in post-acute and long-term care and operated a small office called the Iron Range Clinic in Eveleth.
A felony count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct will be dismissed under the terms of the plea agreement. The arrangement calls for Draper to receive a stay of adjudication, which would allow the conviction to stay off his record if he meets yet-to-be-determined conditions. But he won't face jail time.
Arneson also indicated Draper has consulted an immigration attorney, with the defendant saying he was comfortable entering the plea Monday.
Judge Michelle Anderson ordered a presentence investigation and psychosexual evaluation ahead of sentencing Sept. 13.