UCLA, former gynecologist accused of sexual assault facing class-action lawsuit

Two women who claim they were sexually assaulted by a former University of California, Los Angeles gynecologist have filed a federal class-action lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the university failed to protect Dr. James Heaps' patients and acted negligently.

Heaps was charged in June with the sexual battery and exploitation of two patients who he treated at UCLA in 2017 and 2018, but he has pleaded not guilty.

Heaps worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist at the student health center from 1983 to 2010 and then was hired by UCLA Health in 2014. He also held medical staff privileges at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018. The university has paid more than $3.5 million in settlements over allegations against Heaps.

When allegations first came forward last year, the school says it investigated and reported Heaps to law enforcement and the state medical board. He decided to retire as the school was moving to fire him.

Heaps is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29.
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