A former gynecologist at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for sexually abusing patients while working at the university.
The Los Angeles Times reports that James Heaps, 66, was convicted in October 2022 of three counts of sexual battery by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of two patients.
The charges stem from assaults that occurred from 2013 to 2017,
The University of California system has agreed to pay nearly $700 million to settle lawsuits brought by hundreds of Heaps’ alleged victims.
Victims said in written statements they still suffer extreme anxiety and no longer trust male doctors because of the sexual abuse by Heaps.
The doctor worked part time at the UCLA student health center from about 1983 to 2010, was hired by UCLA Health in 2014 and held medical staff privileges at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018, according to the university.
Despite years of complaints about Heaps, who treated about 6,000 patients during his tenure, it was not until late 2017 that allegations of sexual misconduct were reported to UCLA’s Title IX office and a formal investigation was opened.
Heaps was allowed to continue seeing patients — both during the investigation and after UCLA informed the doctor his contract would not be renewed when it expired on June 30, 2018. UCLA finally ended Heaps’ employment and notified the police of the allegations against him in June 2018. Heaps was arrested a year later.