Jury selection begins in sex abuse trial for former UCLA gynecologist

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 3:33AM
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Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former gynecologist at UCLA, who has been indicted on 21 counts of sexually assaulting seven patients.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a former gynecologist at UCLA, who has been indicted on 21 counts of sexually assaulting seven patients.

Dr. James Mason Heaps, 63, of Woodland Hills, has pleaded not guilty.

Heaps was a gynecologist affiliated with UCLA for nearly 35 years. The school began investigating him in 2017 and he retired the following year.

Earlier this year, attorneys for 312 former patients announced $374 million settlement of abuse lawsuits against the university.

READ MORE: Ex-UCLA gynecologist now facing 20 felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting 7 patients

That settlement came on top of a $243.6 million resolution of lawsuits involving about 200 patients announced in February, and a $73 million settlement of federal lawsuits reached last year involving roughly 5,500 plaintiffs.

In total, it's considered the largest payout related to sexual abuse involving public university.

Heaps served as a gynecologist/oncologist, affiliated with UCLA, for nearly 35 years. At various times, he saw patients at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and at his office at 100 Medical Plaza.

At one time, Heaps was reportedly the highest paid physician in the UC system and had treated about 6,000 patients, attorneys said.

More than 500 lawsuits were filed against Heaps and UCLA, accusing the school of failing to protect patients after becoming aware of the misconduct.

Heaps faces more than 67 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Jury selection is expected to continue for the rest of the week. This trial is expected to last through September.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.