UPDATED 10:56 AM PT — Monday, June 17, 2019
More questions are being raised at UCLA in relation to its handling of sexual abuse allegations involving one of its campus physicians. At the center of the controversy is Dr. James Heaps. He worked as a campus gynecologist from 2014 until he retired in June of 2018.
Just months before, a female patient — only identified as Jane Doe — accused him of touching her inappropriately during an appointment. She notified another doctor of the incident, and UCLA opened an investigation within days. However, the university did not remove Heaps from his position nor did it notify students or staff of the incident. Instead, he was allowed to continue practicing.
UCLA’s chancellor has defended the university’s actions by saying they followed protocol by reporting the allegations to the state’s medical board, but could not inform the public as the investigation was ongoing. This hasn’t stopped some from accusing the school of a cover-up.
Heaps has since been charged with two-counts of sexual battery for which he has pleaded not guilty. Jane Doe along with another women have also filed lawsuits against him and the university of California Board of Regents.
Since news of the suits broke, more than 20 other women have come forward with accusations of their own. They say Heap’s actions led them to suffer “tremendous and lasting harm.” However, his attorney claims these allegations are baseless and exaggerated.