Former students file 2nd sexual abuse lawsuit against retired UCLA OB-GYN
A second sexual abuse lawsuit has been filed against former UCLA gynecologist Edward Wiesmeier and the University of California Board of Regents. (Ashley Kenney/Photo editor)
By Justin Jung
Dec. 30, 2021 3:44 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 6 at 12:09 a.m.
Editor’s note: The article mentions details of sexual assault allegations that may be disturbing to some readers.
Four more former students filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against retired UCLA OB-GYN Edward Wiesmeier and the University of California.
The lawsuit filed Monday is the second against Wiesmeier and the UC Board of Regents, following a sexual abuse suit filed Dec. 9 with one plaintiff. The new lawsuit alleges that Wiesmeier sexually harassed the four plaintiffs and performed medically unnecessary touching during examinations.
Other former patients have until Friday to file a lawsuit if they were sexually abused while receiving gynecological services from UCLA. The statute of limitations for victims of UCLA Health physicians was extended from its normal expiry of 10 years to the end of 2021 by California Assembly Bill 3092 last September.
Wiesmeier was a UCLA OB-GYN between 1974 and 2007 and was the assistant vice chancellor for student health between 1981 and 2006.
The lawsuit filed Monday alleges sexual harassment, discrimination, battery and assault, civil rights violations, fraud, emotional harm, and negligence.
According to the lawsuit, Wiesmeier sexually harassed and assaulted the former students when they received gynecological services at the UCLA Student Health Center – now known as the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center – between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s.
The plaintiffs alleged that Wiesmeier “painfully manipulated and fondled their clitorises; performed unnecessarily long, aggressive and painful pelvic exams; and in some cases, performed breast exams that involved groping Plaintiff’s breast and squeezing their nipples,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit further alleges the UC Regents failed to use safeguards to protect gynecological patients and adequately train its employees on sexual battery and harassment.
UCLA spokesperson Steve Ritea said in an emailed statement that all forms of sexual misconduct are inexcusable and that a UC Regents report published in June 2020 previously investigated Wiesmeier.
Ritea added that UCLA has instituted policy changes to prevent and address sexual misconduct, including expanding the chaperone program and providing sexual violence and harassment training.
According to the UC Regents’ report investigating Wiesmeier and other UCLA Health doctors, current and former Ashe Center employees said that Wiesmeier performed unnecessary and repeated touching of genitalia.
The UC Regents’ report also said it found that the university received no reports against Wiesmeier until at least 10 years after he retired in 2007 and that it found no Student Health Center records of patient complaints against Wiesmeier.
However, one of the plaintiffs, whose name was not disclosed in the lawsuit and was referred to as Jane Doe 2, alleged that she asked an employee at the Student Health Center to be seen by a different doctor but was denied. According to the lawsuit, the employee told her, “(T)his is a free service for students and we are not required to provide A plus services here. If you want A plus care, you should see your private doctor or purchase Student Health Insurance.”
She then wrote a letter reporting Wiesmeier’s conduct to UCLA in 1981 but never received a response, according to the lawsuit.
One plaintiff, Jane Doe 4, alleged, “Dr. Wiesmeier then gave her invasive manual pelvic exams, which involved roughly and forcefully inserting his fingers into her vagina and repeatedly digging them in and out of her body in effort to ‘feel the cyst.’ During almost every, if not every one of those appointments, he finished the exam by performing a lengthy and aggressive transvaginal ultrasound which involved roughly moving the transducer wand in and out of her body.”
Each of the other plaintiffs alleged similar sexual assault and battery during pelvic examinations.
Three plaintiffs, Jane Does 2, 3 and 4, alleged that Wiesmeier asked inappropriate personal questions that were not medically necessary, such as those about dating preferences and sexual history. Jane Does 2 and 3 also alleged that Wiesmeier took photographs of their genitalia without stating medical reasoning for doing so.
According to the lawsuit, two of the plaintiffs, Jane Does 3 and 4, were also sexually abused by former UCLA OB-GYN James Heaps while they were Student Health Center patients. Wiesmeier referred one of the women, Jane Doe 4, to Heaps for ovarian surgery, according to the lawsuit. Heaps currently faces civil lawsuits with hundreds of plaintiffs and was indicted on 21 counts of felony sexual misconduct.
Wiesmeier did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wiesmeier will appear in court May 25, 2023, for a final status conference for the first lawsuit at the Spring Street Courthouse. Wiesmeier will appear June 12, 2023, for a final status conference for the second lawsuit at the Spring Street Courthouse.
A nonjury trial for the second lawsuit is currently scheduled to begin June 26, 2023.