UCLA Allowed Top Doc to Sexually Abuse Patients 'Year After Year,' Ex-Patient Says as Settlements Reach $700M
UCLA has agreed to pay over $700 million to settle claims made by more than 5,000 former patients of Dr. James Heaps. Among the allegations against Heaps is that he exaggerated cancer risks in order to sexually abuse women. He denies the allegations.
Three women are speaking out about their former doctor, a top UCLA gynecologist, saying he was a “predator” and “monster” who subjected them to unnecessary pelvic exams for his own sexual gratification.
Dr. James Heaps is currently on trial, facing 21 counts of sexually abusing patients.
He was reportedly one of the highest-earning physicians during his more than 30 years of work at the UCLA Medical Center.
Since his arrest, the university has agreed to pay over $700 million to settle claims made by more than 5,000 former patients, including the three women who spoke to Inside Edition.
“I was young and completely trusting in this doctor and in UCLA,” one of the women said.
In their lawsuit, they claimed UCLA Medical Center knew about multiple complaints involving Heaps’ behavior, but failed to act.
“I believe deep in my heart that the people in charge at UCLA knew,” another patient said.
“And the sad thing is they allowed it to happen year after year after year,” the other woman said.
Lawyers Jennifer McGrath and Darren Kavinoky represent the women, who asked that they not be named.
“Dr. Heaps not only betrayed the trust that his patients bestowed in him, but he would oftentimes exaggerate or embellish a woman's risk of cancer, specifically to get those women back in his office, when he could abuse them yet again,” Kavinoky said.
Inside Edition chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero attempted to speak to Heaps about the allegations as he left court. He did not respond, but his attorney said: "Dr. Heaps denies each and every one of the allegations against him. There are just many women out there who swear by him and think he’s the greatest doctor they have ever gone to.”
UCLA tells Inside Edition the alleged conduct by Heaps is reprehensible and contrary to their values, adding they hope the settlement reached is one step towards providing healing for the women who came forward.
Heaps has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges he faces.
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