Former UCLA Health OB-GYN James Heaps indicted on sexual misconduct charges
Former OB-GYN James Heaps was indicted on 21 counts of felony sexual misconduct Monday. Heaps now potentially faces 91 years or more in prison if convicted. (Daily Bruin file photo)
By Justin Jung
May 24, 2021 2:32 p.m.
This post was updated May 31 at 12:34 p.m.
A grand jury indicted former OB-GYN James Heaps on 21 counts of felony sexual misconduct Monday.
Heaps, who was previously a faculty member at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and an OB-GYN at UCLA Health, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 100 of his former patients.
If convicted, Heaps potentially faces more than 91 years in prison.
An indictment by a grand jury is one of two ways a criminal case can go to trial, said Darren Kavinoky. Kavinoky jointly represents more than 300 of Heaps’ accusers with lawyer Jennifer McGrath.
Heaps pleaded not guilty on all 21 counts Monday.
Leonard Levine, a lawyer representing Heaps, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Earlier this year, Heaps and the university agreed to a $73 million class action settlement that would offer former patients between $2,500 and $250,000 as compensation.
Under the settlement, Heaps and UCLA would not admit wrongdoing, and former patients who did not opt out of the settlement by May 6 are prohibited from filing individual civil suits. Hundreds of women opted out of the settlement, including more than 300 of McGrath and Kavinoky’s clients.
The settlement also requires the university to implement safeguards against future sexual misconduct.
UCLA Health spokesperson Phil Hampton said in an emailed statement that sexual misconduct is inexcusable.
“While we can’t comment on the specifics of today’s legal action, we can say unequivocally that sexual misconduct or abuse is inexcusable,” Hampton said. “We remain committed to providing quality care that respects the dignity of every patient.”
Following the indictment Monday, Heaps was remanded into custody with his bail set at $1.19 million.
Heaps was initially set to appear before the LA Superior Court on Monday morning for a preliminary hearing, which was canceled because of the grand jury’s decision to indict Heaps.
Heaps will next appear in court June 3 at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Contributing reports by Anushka Chakrabarti, news editor.