WESTWOOD—On Thursday, October 20, a jury found Dr. James Heaps, who was an obstetrician-gynecologist for the University of California Los Angeles for nearly 3 decades, guilty of sexually abusing his patients. 

Dr. Heaps was found guilty of five felony counts, including three counts of sexual battery by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

“The trauma Dr. Heaps inflicted on the very people he had sworn to care for is immeasurable,” said Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón in a press release. “I am committed to helping all victims of sexual assault – whether they were victimized by a doctor, school personnel or a Hollywood elite – and encourage them to contact my office’s Bureau of Victim Services if they are in need of services.” 

It took two years for UCLA to complete an investigation into allegations made against Heaps. According to one accusation that was published in the Los Angeles Times, Heaps grabbed a patient’s left breast, buttocks, and fondled with her clitoral piercing during an appointment where she was scheduled to have an IUD removed. A panel of three board certified physicians all unanimously agreed that Heaps behaved inappropriately after reviewing that case. Heaps argued that his actions were medically necessary. 

In a 2020 investigative report conducted by UCLA, Heaps was accused of having used painful vaginal examination techniques, unnecessarily groped and touched patients during exams and made inappropriate sexual comments to patients and staff. He was facing a total of 21 felonies at the time, but was acquitted on three counts of sexual battery by fraud, three counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient. The jury was hung and it is unclear if the LADA plans on reopening that case. 

In 2020, UCLA agreed to create a fund to pay more than 5,500 victims participating in a class action lawsuit. Earlier this year, the University of California system agreed to pay $243.6 million to settle allegations from 203 women who accused Heaps of assault. 

In the lawsuit, the victims alleged that the university ignored decades of complaints and intentionally concealed the abuse before beginning to investigate Heaps in 2018. 

Heaps’ sentencing is scheduled for November 17. He was originally arrested in June 2019. A grand jury indicted Heaps in 2021 and the indictment alleges sexual misconduct by Heaps from 2009 to 2018.