A former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, surrendered to police Monday after he was charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual exploitation involving two patients.
James Heaps, who worked part time at the school’s student health center for 27 years, was removed from his position with UCLA Health after university officials found out about the allegations, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor John Mazziotta said in a statement.
“Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable and represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship,” the chancellors said. “We are deeply sorry that a former UCLA physician violated our policies and standards, our trust and the trust of his patients.”
Heaps announced his retirement shortly after he was told he was being terminated, the statement added.
According to court records, charges were filed against Heaps on May 22, and the doctor turned himself in to authorities on Monday.
Heaps, 62, worked at UCLA’s student health center from 1983 to 2010, and was hired by UCLA Health in 2014, according to the school. He was also on staff at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018, when he retired.
The charges stem from two patients in 2017 and 2018, and the filing does not elaborate on how Heaps committed the alleged abuse.
Officials said the incidents that were investigated occurred at a UCLA Health clinic, not at the UCLA student health center.
The charges against Heaps come about a year after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that a gynecologist with the University of Southern California’s student health clinic had been accused repeatedly of abusing students during his 30-plus-year tenure.
The doctor, George Tyndall, was allowed to continue his practice, but the revelation of the allegations eventually led to state and federal investigations and the university president’s resignation.
According to the Medical Board of California, Heaps’s medical license remains active.