LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Thursday he was guilty of sexually abusing a female patient in five criminal cases after the university system paid nearly $700 million in lawsuits. Convicted of a crime.
A jury in Los Angeles found Dr. James Heaps, a longtime gynecologist on the UCLA campus, not guilty of seven of the 21 counts, leaving the remaining charges in a stalemate.
UCLA agreed to pay nearly $700 million in litigation settlements to hundreds of Heaps patients following a scandal in 2019 following the doctor’s arrest. recent years.
Heaps, 65, had pleaded not guilty to 21 felony counts of sexually assaulting seven women between 2009 and 2018. he denies wrongdoing.
Heaps was indicted last year on multiple counts each of fraudulent sexual assault, patient sexual exploitation, and fraudulent proxy sexual assault on an unwitting person.
A jury found him guilty of three counts of sexual assault with fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person. He was found not guilty to seven counts of sexual assault and assault and one count of sexual exploitation, and the jury found him hanged and tried on the remaining nine counts. The officer has decided to declare suspicious of these charges.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 17th.
The district attorney’s office said prosecutors had not yet decided whether to retry the hanging.
“The trauma Dr. Heaps has inflicted on the very people he swore to care for is immeasurable,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “While we respect the jury’s decision regarding acquittal, we are clearly disappointed.”
A lawyer for Heaps did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Attorney John Manly, who has represented more than 200 women in civil lawsuits against Heaps and UCLA, said, “The horrific abuses he perpetrated on cancer patients and those who trusted him as their physician have been exposed and brought to justice. was done,” he said. verdict.
Physician sexual abuse on college campuses has led to major settlements at Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University.
UCLA’s payment topped the 2018 Michigan State University $500 million settlement, which was considered the largest by any public university. A private institution, the University of Southern California, has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits against the school’s longtime gynecologist, who is still facing criminal trial in Los Angeles. .
UCLA patients say Heaps groped, made provocative comments, and performed unnecessarily invasive tests during his 35-year career. The women who filed the lawsuits say the university has ignored their appeals, and that Ronald Reagan has been accused for decades during exams at the UCLA Student Health Center, at her UCLA Medical Center, or at Heaps’ campus in her office. He said he deliberately hid the abuse that was taking place.
UCLA acknowledged receiving a sexual abuse complaint against Heaps from a patient in December 2017 and launched an investigation the following month that concluded she had been sexually assaulted and harassed, lawyers said.
However, Heaps continued practicing until his retirement in June 2018. The university did not release its findings until November 2019, months after Heaps was arrested.
“UCLA Health is grateful to the patients who have come forward,” the university said in a statement after the verdict. Our top priority is to provide the highest quality care while making our patients feel safe, protected and respected. “
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