On October 20, 2022, former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps was found guilty of s*xually abusing 5 of his patients.
The Los Angeles Times reported that allegations against James Heaps surfaced in 2014 when the state medical board investigated him for a similar complaint. In 2017, another complaint was filed to UCLA, with the university reporting his retirement in June 2018. Subsequently, the university was criticized for allowing Heaps to see patients for approximately six months following the 2017 complaint.
On May 22, 2019, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office accused the 65-year-old former gynecologist of physically exploiting two former patients. NBC reported that as several former patients began to make allegations against Heaps, the university agreed to pay almost $700 million in lawsuits to the reported victims.
The James Heaps case has raised fingers toward UCLA
As per NPR, James Heaps would use his position as a doctor and gynecologist to carry out inappropriate activities with his patients.
John Manly, an attorney representing several of Heaps’ alleged victims, said in an official statement that many of the women the former doctor reportedly abused were cancer patients.
“The horrible abuse he perpetrated on cancer patients and others who trusted him as their doctor has been exposed and justice was done.”
Lenny Levine, a defense attorney representing Heaps, insisted that the doctor was making what appeared to be intimate contact with patients due to the nature of his job.
“He’s either a doctor out there doing his job, or he’s a maniacal monster.”
NBC reported that despite the numerous allegations, James Heaps pleaded not guilty to 21 felony abuse-related charges. The California jury found him guilty of three charges, while he was not guilty of seven others.
In an official statement, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon discussed the allegations against Heaps. He noted how the jury was hung on an additional nine charges, leading to a mistrial.
“The trauma Dr. Heaps inflicted on the very people he had sworn to care for is immeasurable. While we respect the jurors’ decisions on the acquitted counts, we are obviously disappointed.”
In an official statement, UCLA responded to the verdict against James Heaps.
The statement read:
“UCLA Health is grateful for the patients who came forward. Sexual misconduct of any kind is reprehensible and intolerable. Our overriding priority is providing the highest quality care while ensuring that patients feel safe, protected and respected.”
Heaps is scheduled to be sentenced on November 17, 2022.