Employee Says UCLA Health Failed to Protect Her Against Sexual Abuse by Gynecologist

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A medical assistant at the UCLA Health medical center on Tuesday said her employers failed to protect her from sexual abuse by Dr. James Heaps, a gynecologist who’s the subject of a class-action lawsuit accusing him of assault.

Gaby Vasquez speaks to reporters on Sept. 24, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)
Gaby Vasquez speaks to reporters on Sept. 24, 2019. (Credit: KTLA)

Gaby Vasquez–in a separate complaint against Heaps, the UC Regents and a manager at UCLA Health–said she reported Heaps but was threatened that she could lose her job.

“UCLA could have stopped this if they had listened to me… I was told to be quiet and just go back to work,” Vasquez said.

Heaps, who has denied wrongdoing, has been charged with sexual battery involving two patients. More than 100 former patients have contacted UCLA with “concerns about their interactions” with the doctor,  a university spokesperson previously said.

In a statement on Tuesday, UCLA Health said a committee started a review in March of the university’s response to sexual misconduct.

“We remain deeply sorry for the pain that patients have experienced… Based on the findings of the review, UCLA will identify and implement necessary changes across all clinical sites,” UCLA Health said.

A statement from Heaps’ attorney on Tuesday said the doctor “denies each and every allegation in this lawsuit except for the fact that he saw this patient approximately three times at her request.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Vasquez’s first name. This post has been updated. 

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