University Of California Settles Gynecologist Sex Abuse Case For $73 Million


Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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Seven women who have accused a former gynecologist of sexual abuse in a class-action lawsuit could receive a combined payout of $73 million from the University of California school system, according to USA Today.

Dr. James Heaps, 63, worked at University of California, Los Angeles for nearly three decades, according to USA Today. A patient reported the doctor and in June 2019, Heaps was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient, according to the outlet. After authorities arrested Heaps, more than 200 women reported Heaps to UCLA, USA Today reported. (RELATED: Boy Scouts Facing Over 82,000 Sexual Abuse Allegations, File For Bankruptcy)

Michael Gordon. Shutterstock.

Five more students filed 17 charges of sexual misconduct against Heaps in August, according to The Daily Bruin, totaling 20 felony counts altogether. This is separate from the multiple civil sexual misconduct lawsuits the hundreds of plaintiffs brought forward, according to The Daily Bruin.

Heaps was accused of touching women inappropriately during exams without wearing gloves, simulating intercourse with an ultrasound probe and making inappropriate comments, USA Today reported. A federal judge will need to approve the settlement between the seven plaintiffs, according to USA Today.

UCLA issued a statement last year explaining their response: investigating Heaps for sexual misconduct and incorrectly billing. The university then turned the matter to the authorities. “We are deeply sorry that a former member of our staff violated our policies and standards, our trust, and the trust of his patients,” the statement said, according to USA Today.