Ex-UCLA gynecologist James Heaps guilty of sexually abusing patients during his 20-year practice
An ex-UCLA gynecologist, James Heaps, has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing patients during the 20-year practice he started in Los Angeles in the 1990s.
In a plea agreement that was unsealed Friday, Heaps admitted to eight counts of sexually abusing six patients: four assaults on three women and one assault on a man who had been raped.
Heaps worked at the UCLA School of Medicine, where the university is located, from 1991 to 2002, a time when he was accused of having sex with patients without their consent. He became the target of the FBI’s investigation in 2016 when he was accused of sexually assaulting a patient at UCLA.
Heaps, who is 67 years old, faces up to 15 years in prison on each count. He will be sentenced on Oct. 27.
A report from the Los Angeles Times found that in an investigation of 14 UCLA gynecologists, 14 out of 16 reported having sex with patients without their consent.
In an interview with the Times in 2017, Heaps confirmed he had sex with two patients. One man said the sex was consensual, but the other said he ended up in bed with Heaps because he was drunk, so Heaps told her he didn’t need an education.
“I was in my second year of residency. I was on a fellowship program that I was finishing,” he told the Times. “I was drinking, I was intoxicated, and he forced me. I didn’t consent.”
Heaps told the Times he had worked with 15 sex crimes investigators for four years and told them he never “wouldn’t have done it for free.”
The Times reported that when Heaps started his practice in Los Angeles, he told his friends he planned to use his talents as a gynecologist to work against sex crimes and sexual abuse.
Heaps served as a board member and vice president of the Los Angeles Community College District Commission on Special Education from 1991 to 2010, and was also named as a director in 2007 by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Heaps is married to another former UCLA gynecologist, Dr. Tasha Gersh, who is still teaching at the school as well. Gersh testified in October that Heaps’ medical license