UCLA Failed to Warn Public About Gynecologist Accused of Sexual Battery

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The UCLA campus outside Royce Hall is seen in this undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

The UCLA campus outside Royce Hall is seen in this undated photo. (Los Angeles Times)

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In June 2017, a married mother of four experiencing severe pelvic pain went to see a UCLA gynecologist. Dr. James Mason Heaps, she alleged, improperly touched her genitals, fondled her breast and buttock and made sexual remarks during the exam. She reported the conduct to UCLA in December of that year.

Once notified, UCLA officials could have immediately removed Heaps from campus or restricted his practice to protect the public while investigating the allegations, as allowed under University of California guidelines. They could have warned the campus community — which federal law requires if university officials decide someone accused of sexual assault is a safety threat. They could have encouraged other potential victims to step forward.

UCLA officials did none of these things before announcing Heaps’ retirement last June without telling the public they found he had violated UC policies on sexual misconduct. He strongly denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

UCLA’s actions have come under scrutiny since officials announced criminal charges against Heaps on Monday. Interviews and documents reviewed by The Times raise new questions about how UCLA handled the case at a time when the UC system touts itself as a national leader in establishing strong sexual misconduct policies being more sensitive to victims and responsive to complaints.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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