The UC Board of Regents will hear today from former patients of UCLA gynecologist, Dr. James Heaps, who claim they were sexually abused by him. Two accusers have said that he 'inappropriately touched' them during exams, with one accuser saying specifically that he fondled her buttocks and breasts.
Back in June, Dr. Heaps was charged with:
- Two counts of sexual battery by fraud
- One count of sexual exploitation of a patient
Heaps has pleaded not guilty. He retired in 2018 after UCLA declined to renew his contract.
Heaps' former patients are requesting that the board open an independent investigation into the situation. They say that UCLA had multiple warnings about Heaps' behavior and they want to know exactly what the university knew in regards to his behavior and complaints made against him and when they first knew it.
Fox 11 reports that according to a press release sent on behalf of former patients:
“Since Heaps was charged, by the University’s own admission, more than 144 women have come forward with complaints. According to published reports, complaints about Heaps go back to 2014, yet he was allowed to continue seeing patients at UCLA.”
Heaps worked part-time at UCLA's health center from 1983-2010, and had staff privileges at the school's medical center from 1988 until 2018.
Allegations first came to light about him in 2017, when UCLA received a complaint. The university removed him from practice and placed him on leave, but they didn't explain why publicly until his arrest in June.
UCLA Health spokeswoman told Newsweek:
"We are deeply sorry for this. We know we could have done better...We want and need to hear from other possible patients."