LOS ANGELES – A former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles was found guilty on five counts in a count of sexual abuse in a Los Angeles court on Thursday.
The jury found Dr. James Heaps found not guilty on seven of the 21 counts and was deadlocked on the remaining counts.
Heaps, a longtime UCLA campus gynecologist, pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of sexually assaulting seven women between 2009 and 2018. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Heaps was indicted last year on multiple counts, each of sexual abuse through fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient and sexual penetration of an unconscious person through fraudulent depiction.
The jury found guilty on three counts of sexual harassment by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person. He was found not guilty on seven other counts of sexual harassment and penetration and one count of sexual exploitation. The jury hung on the nine remaining counts, leading the judge to declare a mistrial on those charges.
It wasn’t immediately clear if prosecutors planned to refile the case on the deadlocked charges.
UCLA has agreed to pay Nearly $700 million in settlement procedures for hundreds of Heaps patientsa public university record in a wave of scandals over sexual misconduct by campus doctors.
Sexual abuse by doctors on college campuses has led to massive settlements at Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University.
UCLA’s payouts exceed a $500 million settlement by Michigan State University in 2018, considered the largest by any public university. The University of Southern California, a private institution, has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle thousands of cases against the school’s longtime gynecologist, who still faces criminal charges in Los Angeles.
UCLA patients said Heaps groped them, made lewd comments, or performed unnecessarily invasive exams throughout his 35-year career. Women who filed the lawsuits said the university ignored their complaints and deliberately concealed abuse that occurred for decades during investigations at the UCLA Student Health Center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center or Heaps’ campus office.
UCLA admitted it received a sexual abuse complaint against Heaps from a patient in December 2017 and launched an investigation the following month that concluded she was sexually assaulted and molested, attorneys said.
However, Heaps continued to practice until his retirement in June 2018 amid the scandal. The university did not release its findings from the investigation until November 2019 — months after Heaps was arrested.
“UCLA Health is grateful for the patients who have come forward,” the university said in a statement following the ruling. “Sexual misconduct of any kind is reprehensible and intolerable. Our top priority is to provide the best possible care while ensuring patients feel safe, protected and respected.”
Heaps’ attorney and prosecutors did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
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https://www.local10.com/health/2022/10/21/ex-ucla-gynecologist-found-guilty-in-la-sex-abuse-case/ Ex-UCLA gynecologist found guilty in LA sex abuse case