Education

$73 Million Settlement Is Reached in Sex Abuse Suit Involving U.C.L.A. Gynecologist

The University of California system has agreed to pay $73 million to greater than 5,500 ladies who have been sufferers of a former U.C.L.A. gynecologist who has been charged with 20 felony counts of sexual assault.

The settlement phrases have been made public on Monday in a class-action lawsuit in opposition to the college system and the doctor, Dr. James Heaps. The go well with was initiated by seven ladies who say Dr. Heaps sexually abused them throughout medical examinations.

In the settlement, the college system and Dr. Heaps don’t admit wrongdoing, which isn’t unusual. The settlement in the lawsuit, which was permitted by the college system’s Board of Regents, nonetheless wants a choose’s approval.

The civil go well with, which was filed in October 2019, is separate from the criminal case against Dr. Heaps, who was employed on the scholar well being heart on the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1983 to 2010. Dr. Heaps, 64, labored at U.C.L.A. Health from 2014 to 2018. He was initially charged in June 2019 and has pleaded not responsible to all prices.

Elizabeth A. Kramer, a lawyer for the ladies who filed the lawsuit, mentioned in an e mail on Monday night time that the sexual abuse was pervasive.

“The settlement, if approved, will provide real and immediate compensation to thousands of women — no less than $2,500 and up to $250,000, or more in extraordinary circumstances,” Ms. Kramer wrote. “In a case involving widespread sexual misconduct, a class settlement compensates survivors who otherwise would not have come forward to seek relief from the courts, through a respectful and confidential process.”

Under the phrases of the settlement, the University of California system pays your complete quantity.

“The incidents described in the lawsuit reflect alleged conduct that is contrary to our values,” U.C.L.A. Health mentioned in an announcement on Monday. “We thank the individuals who came forward and hope that this settlement — which is still subject to court approval — is one small step forward for the patients involved.”

A lawyer for Dr. Heaps didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Monday night time.

U.C.L.A. Health mentioned that an unbiased assessment of how the college responds to allegations of sexual misconduct by medical professionals — commissioned by the Board of Regents — was accomplished this yr.

“U.C.L.A. is committed to policies and procedures to protect patients,” the college system mentioned.

One of the ladies who filed the lawsuit mentioned that Dr. Heaps made sexual feedback about her throughout an examination whereas he inserted his fingers into her vagina. The girl mentioned that Dr. Heaps inappropriately touched her genitalia and thighs, and requested her if she was courting anybody and the way typically she had intercourse, in line with the lawsuit.

Another former affected person mentioned that Dr. Heaps had “fondled, cupped, and jiggled her breasts in a sexual manner, as if for his own sexual gratification or in an attempt to sexually stimulate her.”

The $73 million settlement shared some parallels with a $215 million settlement that the University of Southern California reached with former sufferers of Dr. George Tyndall, the campus gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct involving a whole lot of sufferers throughout his decades-long tenure. That settlement was approved by a choose in February.

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