Sex Abuse Settlement Worth $73 Million Approved by the University of California

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The University of California reached a mutual proposal of a $73 million settlement for sexual abuse victims by one of the institutions’ gynecologists, the 63-year-old Dr. James Heaps. According to official reports, the educational institution established an agreement for compensation with seven women who fell victim to the gynecologist’s sexual advances.

Based on the lawsuit results, more than 6,600 patients of Dr. Heaps would receive portions from the agreed settlement. Moreover, even those who did not accuse the doctor-in-question of sexual abuse will obtain subsidy support from the case. 

The proposal needed a federal judge’s approval to establish the agreement between the University of California’s delegates and the involved doctor, and the seven victims representing Heap’s thousand patients. On Monday, the proposed deal got filed in federal court. The agreement consisted of UCLA’s multiple mandated reforms.

Many of Heap’s patients accused him of sexual misconduct and sexual assaults occurring on separate occasions from 1983 to 2018. During the given period by the victims, Dr. Heaps worked at the UCLA Medical Center and UCLA student health center. Several of the allegations include sexually touching women without gloves during medical exams, uttering sexually inappropriate remarks to patients, and engaging in rough sexual intercourse using an ultrasound probe.

As the case progresses, Dr. Heaps’ medical license got suspended by the court order. Moreover, the sex abuse settlement is separate from the other charges filed against Heaps. Regarding the sexual abuse claims, he pleaded guilty to the allegations involving the seven women victims. However, several of his patients defended Heaps and claimed that he never violated them during their medical appointments with the doctor.

According to his latest case update, his scheduled appearance in court will occur on December 7 of this year. Heaps’ lawyer failed to return a request for a response immediately.

The suggested reimbursement aims to compensate some of the accused male doctors’ thousand patients who fell victim to their sexual wrongdoings and behaviors. Currently, UCLA’s former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, would involve compensating around 18,000 of his women patients with approximately $215 million settlement. A federal judge ratified the said proposal. 

According to the University of California, Los Angeles, the gynecologist’s investigation started around December 2017. However, during the time, administrators kept the allegations private until Heap’s appearance in court a year ago. When UCLA rejected to renew his job contract, he retired in 2018.

In response to Heaps’ latest case update, UCLA Health issued an official statement on Monday. According to the account, the incidents detailed in the lawsuit oppose that of the university’s core values. Moreover, the school expressed their gratitude to the victims who came forward and spoke about their experiences. UCLA also hopes that the settlement could serve as a stepping stone to make it up for the victims’ horrifying experiences with the accused doctor.

The agreement recorded that after Heaps’ June 2019 arrest, more than 200 women contacted UCLA and stepped forward to reveal their testimonies against the gynecologist. Additionally, UCLA also determines the number of  Heaps’ previous patients under his care, the number revolving around 5,000 people. Also, about 1,600 additional inpatients got treated by him, but whose medical records no longer archived at the university. All of the previously mentioned patients would receive portions from the agreed subsidy.

The $73 million settlement does not mandate Heaps to contribute his share of the amount nor admitting his mistakes. Nevertheless, he proceeded to sign the agreement.

According to UCLA, the university would think of new procedures to help inspect sexual abuse allegations, including establishing a formal chaperone strategy. 

A total of over 100 of Heap’s former patients filed individual lawsuits against the involved gynecologist. Currently, the UCLA delegates settled at least two of those cases, while the remaining ones are still pending status. Moreover, the patients’ payout would start at a minimum amount of $2,500.

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