The University of California reached a proposed $73 million settlement with seven women who accused a former gynecologist of sexual abuse in a class-action lawsuit, USA Today reports. A federal judge must approve the deal between the plaintiffs, who represent 6,000 patients of Dr. James Heaps, and the university. Heaps, 63, worked part-time at UCLA’s student health center from 1983 to 2010 and had staff privileges at the school’s medical center from 1988 until 2018. Heaps faces criminal charges and is due in court on Dec. 7. Last year, he was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient. More than 200 women contacted UCLA after Heaps’ arrest to report their experiences with the doctor.
Accusations include sexually inappropriate comments, touching women sexually during exams without wearing gloves, and simulating intercourse, often roughly, with an ultrasound probe. The university told Heaps he was being terminated. The proposed settlement is the latest agreement to pay thousands of patients of doctors accused of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. A federal judge approved a $215 million settlement for 18,000 women who were patients of a former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, at the University of Southern California.