15 Thursday, June 13, 2019 02:37

Woman sues over alleged assault by gynecologist

A woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by a gynecologist who worked for the University of California, Los Angeles, has sued the universitys regents, the doctor and 20 other parties.A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court says Dr. James Heaps inappropriately touched her genitals, breast and buttock at his office in 2017 while having her intrauterine device removed.

She also claims he made inappropriate sexual comments.The woman has suffered tremendous and lasting harm, the lawsuit states.Heaps, 62, is criminally charged with two counts of sexual battery by fraud and pleaded not guilty on Monday. The womans attorney, Jennifer McGrath, confirmed her client is one of two unidentified women cited as victims in that case.

UCLA Health spokeswoman Rhonda Curry has said the university is aware of four complaints against Heaps. It only referred two of those to law enforcement and first told the campus community of the allegations on Monday.McGrath and another attorney are also representing the other woman cited as a victim in the criminal case.

The university has pledged an independent review of its response and has encouraged potential victims to contact a third-party company with any complaints.University of California President Janet Napolitano said in a statement Wednesday that she has convened a group to review of policies and procedures related to inappropriate sexual behavior in our medical centers and student health centers.

Heaps has denied any wrongdoing. His attorney, Tracy Green, called the lawsuit completely exaggerated and said his exams were always thorough and some patients may have misunderstood that his touching was for a medical purpose.Someone doesnt practice for 30 years and all of a sudden change their approach, she said.

The lawsuit also alleges the state medical board investigated a 2014 complaint against Heaps involving another possible victim; Green said that case was closed with no finding of wrongdoing.Curry said the university has not substantiated that there was a 2014 medical board investigation. UCLA received its first complaint against Heaps in December 2017, which prompted its investigation, Curry said.

The medical boards website showed no records of discipline against Heaps and he has a current license to practice medicine.The university regents office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit Wednesday.The scandal comes in the wake of hundreds of accusations of sexual abuse by the nearby University of Southern Californias longtime staff gynecologist, who has not been criminally charged.

Heaps attorney said its irresponsible to compare the two.In the lawsuit, the woman claims another UCLA gynecologist referred her to Heaps. Her first appointment, where her family was present, went smoothly.At her second appointment, she alleges Heaps groped her and fondled without medical justification her even as a female nurse was present.

. Her family was not there.She really was fearful while the.....

News Code: 192658  |  ABC News
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