Third victim comes forward against Dr. James Heaps
By Sam Catanzaro
A cancer patient has added her name to the list of victims suing the University of California Los Angeles for negligence and gynecologist Dr. James Heaps for sexual assault.
A 44-year-old woman plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, was battling mesothelioma when, in October 2015, she went to Heaps for surgery and that’s where she says he touched her clitoris repeatedly, fondled her breasts and squeeze her nipples all under the guise of medical treatment.
The woman is seeking unspecified damages on charges of sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual harassment, as well as negligent hiring and retention.
“The allegations against Dr. Heaps contained in the lawsuit are very disturbing,” said UCLA Health in a statement.
On Monday, June 10, before the cancer patient came forward, Heaps pleaded not guilty to sexual battery and sexual exploitation in connection with his medical practice.
Heaps was an obstetrician-gynecologist who worked on a part-time basis at the UCLA student health center from approximately 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. The charges relate to care he provided to two patients in 2017 and 2018 at UCLA Health. Last year, in response to allegations of sexual misconduct against Dr. Heaps, UCLA investigated his conduct, removed him from clinical practice, informed him that his employment was being terminated (after which he announced he was retiring) and reported him to the Medical Board of California and law enforcement.
“Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable and represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship. We are deeply sorry that a former UCLA physician violated our policies and standards, our trust and the trust of his patients. Because we know we can and must do better, in March, we initiated an independent review of our institution’s response to sexual misconduct in clinical settings,” said Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor John Mazziotta in a joint statement. “Based on the findings of the review, we will identify and implement necessary changes across all of UCLA’s clinical sites. Our process will be guided by the principles of transparency, accountability, fairness and devotion to our patients.”
The review is examining UCLA’s response to such conduct and whether their policies and procedures to prevent, identify and address sexual misconduct are consistent with best practices.
UCLA has partnered with a trusted third-party resource called Praesidium, which has extensive experience in providing and connecting patients with support services. Any patients with complaints or concerns about Dr. Heaps are encouraged to contact Praesidium at (888)