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Class action lawsuit filed against UCLA gynecologist accused of sexual assault

Two women said in a federal class action lawsuit they were sexually assaulted by a former gynecologist who worked for the University of California, Los Angeles. The class action lawsuit is the latest lawsuit to be filed against Heaps and UCLA, though others have been pursued through state court.

The lawsuit states Dr. James Heaps sexually assaulted the women and made sexually inappropriate comments during their appointments. The suit also alleges that UCLA failed to protect Heaps' patients and acted negligently.

Heaps has been criminally charged with the sexual battery of two patients, but he denies any wrongdoing. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29.

UCLA Gynecologist Sexual Abuse
FILE - In this June 26, 2019, file photo, UCLA gynecologist James Heaps appears in Los Angeles Superior Court. Two women say in a federal class action lawsuit filed Tuesday, July 30, they were sexually assaulted by Heaps, a former gynecologist who worked for the University of California, Los Angeles. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool, File) Al Seib / AP

As of July 31, 130 former patients had reached out to UCLA with "concerns about their interactions" with Heaps, UCLA spokeswoman Rhonda Curry said. An additional 161 former patients expressed support for the doctor.

Elizabeth Kramer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the lawsuit now needs a judge's permission to move forward as a class action case. She said this suit could potentially help women who were victimized but cannot file their own, separate lawsuits.

Heaps' attorney Tracy Green and Curry did not immediately have a comment about the class action case Monday.

The lawsuit was filed last Tuesday against Heaps, the university system's regents and other unnamed defendants in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.

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