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University Agrees To Pay $243 Million As Settlement


The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) reached a $243 million settlement Tuesday with more than 200 women who accused a 64-year-old UCLA gynecologist of sexually abusing them.

According to The Washington Post, the settlement is the latest by a university dealing with allegations dating back years.

Across a 35-year career at UCLA, Dr. James Heaps is accused of abusing hundreds and possibly thousands of women, reported New York Daily News. He is the subject of many civil lawsuits and has been criminally charged.

According to the alleged victims’ attorneys, each of the 203 women in the suits settled Tuesday will get about $1.2 million. Under the guise of providing legitimate medical treatment, Heaps sexually assaulted the women, they said. Heaps touched them sexually without wearing gloves, simulated intercourse with an ultrasound probe, and during consultations he made sexually suggestive comments, according to several alleged victims.

Many of them said that they reported the abuse to UCLA officials, but no action was taken against the doctor. One alleged victim said Tuesday that there was no one else to go to, and that the “emotional toll it’s taken over the years has been tremendous.”

In civil court, the doctor denied all the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. In the settlement announced Tuesday, UCLA did not admit wrongdoing. In 2020, UCLA also settled a different Heaps-related lawsuit for $73 million. Back then also the university didn’t admit wrongdoing. After UCLA finally started investigating the reports of abuse in 2017, the gynecologist resigned in 2018.

The Tuesday settlement follows similar huge payouts by universities over allegations that doctors abused several patients, reported NPR. Just a month ago, the University of Michigan announced a $490 million settlement with more than 1,000 people who claimed that they were sexually assaulted by a sports doctor. The alleged victims claimed that Dr. Robert Anderson assaulted them during his nearly four-decade career at the university. Anderson passed away in 2008.

Last March, the University of Southern California agreed to a $852 million settlement with more than 700 alleged victims. They accused the university’s gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, of sexual abuse. The gynecologist, who worked at the university for nearly three decades, pleaded not guilty to dozens of sexual misconduct criminal counts.

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UCLA College library
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