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Ex-UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps pleads not guilty to sexually abusing 2 patients

A former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing two patients. Dr. James Heaps entered the pleas Monday to two counts of sexual battery by fraud and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient. He was released without bail.

UCLA said Heaps worked part-time at the student health clinic from 1983 to 2010. His attorney, Tracy Green, said UCLA Health later bought his private practice and he became a contract employee. She said the patient allegations involve two women who weren't UCLA students, but went to his clinic in 2017 and 2018.

UCLA said it moved to fire him last year, but he retired.

"Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable and represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship," Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor John Mazziotta said in a statement Monday to the campus community. "We are deeply sorry that a former UCLA physician violated our policies and standards, our trust and the trust of his patients."

The school also said it began an independent review in March of how it responds to sexual misconduct "in clinical settings" and will make changes as needed.

The charges recall similar allegations against a former University of Southern California gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall. Hundreds of current and former USC students accused Tyndall of misconduct. He denied wrongdoing, but USC agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit.

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