A grand jury indicted a former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles on 21 counts of sexual abuse offenses Monday in a case in which he’s accused of sexually assaulting seven women, court documents say.
Dr. James Heaps, 64, faces multiple counts each of sexual battery by fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient and sexual penetration of an unconscious person by fraudulent representation, according to a copy of the indictment unsealed Monday.
The indictment includes offenses that allegedly took place between 2009 and 2018. No new victims were listed in the court documents. He had previously faced 20 counts.
Heaps, who was free on bond, was taken into custody Monday on $1.19 million bail after the indictment was unsealed, CBS Los Angeles reported. He was arrested in June 2019; his medical license has been suspended by court order as that case moves forward.
According to CBA L.A., a grand jury handed down the latest indictment last Thursday, but it was announced on the day a preliminary hearing for Heaps was scheduled to begin.
At least three women were ready to testify against Heaps Monday, attorneys said, but the indictment eliminated the need for a preliminary hearing to assess evidence in advance of the trial.
The University of California system in November agreed to a $73 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit, under which more than 6,600 patients of Heaps could receive a payout, even if they haven’t accused him of abuse.
Attorneys Darren Kavinoky and Jennifer McGrath said in a statement that they believe this indictment strengthens their clients’ claims against Heaps and UCLA., CBS L.A. reported.
Ex-UCLA gynecologist James Heaps indicted on 21 sex abuse counts and held on $1.19 million bail https://t.co/3a06gCIzxq— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 25, 2021
“This decision is one step closer to lifting the veil on UCLA’s malfeasance, and that UCLA did nothing to protect patients after knowing and concluding that Dr. Heaps was a predator,” the statement alleges.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a measure allowing a one-year window – all of 2021 – for victims to file legal claims against Heaps and UCLA that could otherwise have been too late under an existing statute of limitations.