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University of California reaches a $73M settlement against former gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The University of California system has reached a $73 million settlement Monday with alleged victims of sexual abuse by a former obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. James Heaps.

(CNN)The University of California system has reached a $73 million settlement Monday with alleged victims of sexual abuse by a former obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. James Heaps.

The preliminary settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge, requires UCLA to create a fund to pay as many as 6,600 victims participating in the class-action lawsuit filed by seven women.

"Dr. Heaps has maintained his innocence ever since he was first accused, and this proposed settlement involving civil litigation, does not change that.

It is unfortunate that the Regents of the University of California have decided on this proposed settlement without ever once questioning Dr. Heaps' accusers, under oath, in a court of law," Leonard Levine, counsel for Dr. James Heaps, said in a statement to CNN.

Following his arrest, many women came forward and alleged that Heaps made "inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments," removed their gowns or clothing in a "sensual manner, without consent," or inappropriately touched them.

In August, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced "eight additional counts of sexual battery by fraud, two additional counts of sexual exploitation of a patient as well as seven counts of sexual penetration of a person unconscious of the nature of the act by fraudulent representation" against Heaps.

He now faces a total of 20 felony counts charging him with sexually assaulting seven patients, according to a news release from the L. A. County District Attorney's Office.

In a statement to CNN, UCLA Health said this is "one small step forward for the patients involved.

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