Who is James Heaps? Former UCLA gynecologist found guilty of sexually abusing female patients
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: A former UCLA gynaecologist, Dr James Heaps was found guilty on Thursday, October 20, of sexually abusing female patients during his tenure at the university. A grand jury indicted Heaps on 21 counts of felony sexual abuse involving seven patients of which he was convicted of five counts.
These include three counts of sexual battery by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person. These occurrences took place from 2009 to 2018, according to ABC 7. He will be sentenced on November 17 and could face up to 21 years in state prison.
Who is James Heaps?
For almost 35 years, Heaps worked as a gynaecologist and oncologist associated with UCLA, as per Los Angeles Daily News. He occasionally saw patients at his office at 100 Medical Plaza and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
After being made aware of the wrongdoing in the more than 500 lawsuits filed against Heaps and UCLA, the school was accused of failing to protect patients. Attorneys for 312 former Heaps patients announced in May that $374 million had been paid to resolve abuse claims against the University of California. The settlement followed a $73 million settlement of federal lawsuits involving about 5,500 plaintiffs last year and a $243.6 million settlement of cases involving roughly 200 patients announced in February.
The lawsuits claimed that UCLA actively and knowingly covered up Heaps' patient sexual abuse. Plaintiffs' attorneys argued in the cases that UCLA continued to permit Heaps to have unrestricted sexual access to female patients at the university, many of whom were fighting cancer.
As per the ABC 7 Eye Witness News, UCLA issued a statement, "This agreement, combined with earlier settlements involving other plaintiffs, resolves the vast majority of the claims alleging sexual misconduct by James Heaps, a former UCLA Health physician. The conduct alleged to have been committed by Heaps is reprehensible and contrary to our values. We are grateful to all those who came forward, and hope this settlement is one step toward providing some level of healing for the plaintiffs involved." UCLA continued by stating its commitment to offering the best care while honoring each patient's dignity. To keep the public's confidence and trust, the university said it is doing everything to ensure the health of our patients.
In a comparable case, USC agreed to pay former patients of former campus gynecologist George Tyndall more than $1.1 billion in March 2021, the largest single-sex abuse payout in the annals of higher education. Tyndall has entered a not-guilty plea to numerous sexual assault charges and was the only full-time gynecologist at the student health clinic from 1989 to 2016.