By Sam Catanzaro
Dr. James Heaps, a gynecologist formerly employed by UCLA, has been charged with sexual battery and sexual exploitation in connection with his medical practice. On Monday, June 10, Heaps pleaded not guilty to these charges and was released without bail.
Heaps was an obstetrician-gynecologist who worked on a part-time basis at the UCLA student health center from approximately 1983 to 2010, was hired by UCLA Health in 2014 and held medical staff privileges at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018. The charges relate to care he provided to two patients in 2017 and 2018 at UCLA Health. Last year, in response to allegations of sexual misconduct against Dr. Heaps, UCLA investigated his conduct, removed him from clinical practice, informed him that his employment was being terminated (after which he announced he was retiring) and reported him to the Medical Board of California and law enforcement.
“Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable and represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship. We are deeply sorry that a former UCLA physician violated our policies and standards, our trust and the trust of his patients. Because we know we can and must do better, in March, we initiated an independent review of our institution’s response to sexual misconduct in clinical settings,” said Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor John Mazziotta in a joint statement. “Based on the findings of the review, we will identify and implement necessary changes across all of UCLA’s clinical sites. Our process will be guided by the principles of transparency, accountability, fairness and devotion to our patients.”
The review is examining UCLA’s response to such conduct and whether their policies and procedures to prevent, identify and address sexual misconduct are consistent with best practices.
UCLA has partnered with a trusted third-party resource called Praesidium, which has extensive experience in providing and connecting patients with support services. Any patients with complaints or concerns about Dr. Heaps are encouraged to contact Praesidium at (888) 961-9273.