WESTWOOD—The University of California (UC) has agreed to pay $243.6 million to settle allegations from 203 women accusing former UCLA obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. James Heaps, of sexual misconduct. Some attorneys representing the victims announced the settlement in a news conference on Tuesday, February 8 in Los Angeles.
The suit claimed that UCLA ignored years of complaints and intentionally worked to conceal the abuse. Each woman will receive $1.2 million, according to attorneys representing the victims.
In 2017, the University of California-Los Angeles began investigating allegations made by hundreds of women, who alleged that Dr. Heaps sexually abused them at some point over his 35-year career. The women filed cases between 1983 and 2019, indicating that Heaps made “inappropriately sexually suggestive comments,” removed their gowns or clothing in a “sensual manner, without consent,” or touched them inappropriately, CNN reported. In 2018, Heaps retired after UCLA declined to renew his contract, and in 2019, he was charged and arrested. Heaps still maintains his innocence in the allegations.
The settlement comes after another $73 million settlement UCLA issued in 2020 involving a similar case, where more than 100 women stated that Heaps groped, simulated intercourse with an ultrasound probe or made inappropriate comments during examinations at the university, The Guardian reported.
UCLA has not admitted any fault, but agreed to change their procedures for preventing, identifying, investigating and dealing with sexual misconduct.