The University of California has agreed to pay $246.3 million to settle allegations that hundreds of women were sexually abused by a former UCLA gynecologist, The Associated Press reports. The university ignored decades of complaints and deliberately concealed abuse by Dr. James Heaps over his 35-year career as an obstetrician and gynecologist at UCLA. This case is among several others exposed in recent years.
A History of Abuse
In the last several years, over 300 women have reported that Dr. Heaps groped them, simulated intercourse with an ultrasound probe or made inappropriate comments during examinations at the UCLA student health center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center or his on-campus office. Dr. Heaps preyed on women during normal medical procedures such as pelvis and breast examinations. Many of the victims were cancer patients.
UCLA settled a similar lawsuit last year for $73 million. These cases shed light on doctors who commit sexual abuse, who use their respected status and authority within medical centers, athletic organizations and educational institutions to abuse victims without any scrutiny or supervision.
It’s important to understand that no one, regardless of their status, has a right to your body beyond your consent.
Resources for Victims of Sexual Abuse
Eliminating stigma for individuals of all identities and believing victims who seek help are the first steps in supporting survivors of sexual abuse. Learning how to report your physician for sexual abuse is the first step in seeking justice.
If you or a loved one are a survivor of sexual abuse by a physician or health care professional, know that it is your right to seek legal action against them. We’ve helped thousands of survivors in cases against their abusers, and we’d like to stand up for you, too. We want to get to know you, your situation, and how we can help you get the justice and healing you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.