Former UCLA Gynecologist Indicted in LA S*exual Abuse Case: In a criminal prosecution brought after the university system paid out over $700 million in lawsuit settlements, a former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles was found guilty on Thursday of five charges of s*exually assaulting female patients.
Longtime UCLA campus gynecologist Dr. James Heaps was found not guilty of seven of the 21 counts, while the jury in Los Angeles was deadlocked on the other eight. Following the doctor’s arrest in 2019 and the scandal that ensued, UCLA decided to pay nearly $700 million to hundreds of Heaps’ patients in litigation settlements.
This was a record sum for a public university during a recent wave of s*exual misconduct scandals involving campus doctors. Heaps, 65, had entered a not guilty plea to 21 felony counts in the 2009–2018 s*exual attacks of seven women. He has asserted his innocence.
Heaps was charged with several charges of s*exual battery through deception, s*exual exploitation of a patient, and s*exual penetration of an unconscious person through deceptive representation last year. Three counts of s*exual battery by deceit and two counts of s*exual penetration of an unconscious individual both resulted in guilty verdicts from the jury.
In relation to seven further counts of s*exual battery and penetration as well as one act of s*exual exploitation, he was found not guilty. The court declared a mistrial on the remaining nine counts when the jury was deadlocked on those counts.
The district attorney’s office stated that it has not determined whether or not the hung counts will be retried. The harm Dr. Heaps caused to the very people he had promised to protect is immeasurable.
George Gascón, the district attorney for Los Angeles County, made a statement. “We are obviously sad, but we accept the jurors’ findings on the acquitted counts.” A Thursday request for comment from Heaps’ attorney did not receive a prompt response.
Attorney John Manly, who represented more than 200 women in civil cases against Heaps and UCLA, said in a statement following the verdict that “justice was served” and that the awful abuse Heaps committed against cancer patients and other people who trusted him as their doctor had been exposed.
The Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University have all reached significant settlements as a result of s*exual misconduct by doctors on college campuses. The settlements made by UCLA surpass the $500 million agreement reached by Michigan State University in 2018.
Which was regarded as the greatest by a public university. Private university USC has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of claims brought against the school’s longstanding gynecologist, who is still awaiting trial in Los Angeles. During his 35-year tenure, UCLA patients said Heaps touched them inappropriately, made s*exually provocative remarks, or performed unnecessary intrusive exams.
The women who filed the cases said that the university disregarded their concerns and knowingly covered up abuse that had occurred for years during examinations at Heaps’ campus office, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, or the UCLA Student Health Center.
According to attorneys, UCLA confirmed receiving a report of s*exual abuse against Heaps from a patient in December 2017. The university then initiated an inquiry the following month, which found that Heaps had been s*exually assaulted and harassed.
But Heaps kept working up until his retirement in June 2018. After Heaps was taken into custody, the institution didn’t make its investigational findings public until November 2019 – several months later.
The charges against former UCLA physician Dr. James Heaps are disturbing. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are unacceptable. @UCLAHealth's full statement and resources for patients can be found here: https://t.co/IuTjJytzwX
— UCLA (@UCLA) June 10, 2019
“UCLA Health is appreciative of the patients who spoke up,” After the verdict, the institution released a statement. “Any form of s*exual impropriety is abhorrent and disgusting. Our top priority is giving patients the best possible care while making sure they feel comfortable, appreciated, and protected.”