Survivor Kara Cagle speaks during a news conference to announce a $243-million settlement in the UCLA sex abuse case of former UCLA gynecologist/oncologist James Heaps in Irvine, Calif., Feb. 8, 2022. – Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
(IRVINE, Calif.) — The University of California announced on Tuesday that it reached an agreement to pay $243.6 million to 203 women, settling lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by former UCLA Health physician James Heaps.
The women filed a lawsuit against the university in California state court, according to UCLA.
“The conduct alleged to have been committed by Heaps is reprehensible and contrary to the university’s values. We express our gratitude to the brave individuals who came forward, and hope this settlement is one step toward providing healing and closure for the plaintiffs involved,” UCLA said in a statement to ABC News.
The settlement comes after the university agreed in December to pay $73 million in the settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by seven women, on behalf of 5,500 women who were patients of the former UCLA gynecologist, court records show.
Heaps faces 21 charges in an ongoing criminal case brought against him in a Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to court records.
In addition to UCLA Health, the University of California’s Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center was also named in the litigation. The university had called for an independent review by a special committee to look into UCLA Health’s as well as the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center’s responses to allegations of sexual misconduct by medical professionals, according to UCLA.
UCLA Health and the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center representatives say they have taken substantial action to address the issues alleged in the litigation.
The report was completed and released publicly in June 2020, recommending additional policies and procedures to prevent, identify and address sexual misconduct, all of which are being adopted and implemented, according to UCLA.
“In light of this settlement and these changes at UCLA, we reiterate our ongoing commitment to never tolerate sexual violence or harassment in any form. Allegations of sexual misconduct by any health care provider will be promptly addressed, and appropriate actions will be taken to ensure our patients are safe, protected and respected,” UCLA said in a statement.
“As we move forward, we remain committed to providing top quality care that respects the dignity of every patient, and we remain dedicated to taking all necessary steps to ensure our patients’ well-being and to maintain the public’s confidence and trust,” UCLA said.
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