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9 more women file lawsuits accusing ex-UCLA gynecologist of sexual assault

Nine more women have alleged in two lawsuits they were sexually assaulted by a former gynecologist who worked for the University of California, Los Angeles. The lawsuits state the women were assaulted by Dr. James Heaps during examinations between 1989 and 2017.

The women allege the inappropriate touching sometimes without gloves was not for any legitimate medical purpose and solely for Heaps' sexual gratification.

Heaps has been criminally charged with two counts of sexual battery by fraud and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient but denies any wrongdoing. He has pleaded not guilty.

The most recent lawsuits were filed Thursday and Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the doctor, the university system's regents and other parties. Three of the nine women were UCLA students at the time of the alleged assaults; the other six were not students and saw Heaps at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

UCLA Health spokeswoman Rhonda Curry said in an email Friday that 117 former patients had reached out to UCLA with "concerns about their interactions" with Heaps. The university is contacting them for follow-up interviews.

Three other women have filed lawsuits against Heaps since he was arrested last month, including a 44-year-old cancer patient who claims Heaps assaulted her during the two years she was being treated.

The university has said its investigation into the gynecologist began in December 2017, though officials did not alert the campus community of the allegations until Heaps was in court last month. He retired in 2018 when the university declined to renew his contract. UCLA has promised an independent review of its response.

The state medical board's website shows no records of discipline against Heaps and he has a current license to practice medicine. The doctor is due back in court on July 30.

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