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Ex-UCLA doctor faces additional sexual abuse charges

UCLA campus
Posted at 5:53 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 17:54:25-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles faces additional criminal charges in a case where he is accused of sexually abusing seven women, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

James Heaps was taken into custody Monday on $1.19 million bail after the grand jury's indictment was unsealed, the newspaper reported. He was arrested in June 2019; his medical license has been suspended by court order as that case moves forward.

Heaps has pleaded not guilty to the charges involving seven women and denied wrongdoing.

"Dr. Heaps is confident he will be exonerated at trial," Leonard Levine, his attorney, told the LA Times. He said his client plans to post bail.

Scores of patients have accused Heaps of sexual assault and sexual misconduct between 1983 and 2018, when he worked at the UCLA student health center and UCLA Medical Center. Accusations include making sexually inappropriate comments to patients, touching women sexually during exams without wearing gloves and simulating intercourse, often roughly, with an ultrasound probe.

The University of California system in November agreed to a $73 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit, under which more than 6,600 patients of Heaps could receive a payout, even if they have not accused him of abuse.

More than 100 of Heaps' former patients have filed individual lawsuits. Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a measure allowing a one-year window -- all of 2021 -- for victims to file legal claims against Heaps and UCLA that could otherwise have been too late under an existing statute of limitations.