WESTWOOD—Former UCLA obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. James Mason Heaps, 62, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on two counts sexual battery by fraud and one count of sexual exploitation with acts involving two patients. Heaps was released on a $70,000 bail on Monday, June 10.
“He would have been arrested at arraignment if he didn’t post bail Monday,” said Public Relations Officer Ricardo Santiago from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office during a phone interview with Canyon News.
Heaps has denied all sexual allegations during his medical practice for 30 years. His attorney Tracy Green, stated during a press conference after the arraignment, “These are baseless allegations. He’s a respected, talented and thorough gynecological-oncologist who always sought to treat his patients with dignity and respect.”
Records date the university processed an internal investigation in December 2017 after a female student complained about inappropriate sexual behavior and comments against Dr. Heaps. The investigation revealed older complaints from two other patients, one in 2014 and another in 2015, but no details from recent violations in 2017.
In April 2018, Heaps was notified by the university that he would not be reappointed to his position. In June 2018, he responded with a request for retirement.
UCLA Health spokeswomen Rhonda Curry, indicated during a press conference on Monday, June 10 that students and patients who believe they were treated inappropriately by Heaps to come forward.
“We know we could have done better, we want and need to hear from other possible patients,” said Curry.
The university kept details regarding Heaps absence private until after the allegations were made public during his arraignment on Monday, where prosecutors alleged that Heaps assaulted his patients “for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse,” while they were unconscious.
Allegations against the physician has been reported to the Medical Board of California. His medical license is still active.
Heaps worked part time at the UCLA student health center from 1983 to 2010, was hired by UCLA Health in 2014 and held medical staff privileges at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018.
According to the University of California employee compensation data, Heaps is listed as one of the highest paid employees in the UC system taking home $1.18 million in 2016 and $1.045 million in 2017.
UCLA has partnered with Praesidium to provide support to any current and former students who may have been impacted by Heaps. They are asked to contact 888-961-9273.