The University of California system will pay nearly $375 million to more than 300 women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist, bringing a record amount in total payments by a public university in a wave of sexual misconduct scandals by campus doctors, the Associated Press reports. The settlement followed previous deals with hundreds of other patients who said Dr. James Heaps groped them, made suggestive comments or conducted unnecessarily invasive exams during his 35-year career. The university has agreed to pay nearly $700 million to Heap's patients. The university said it would pay for the settlements through a combination of insurance, risk financing and capital bond proceeds.
Heaps, 65, who retired as the scandal unfolded, has pleaded not guilty to 21 felony counts for allegedly sexually assaulting seven women. Women who filed the lawsuits said UCLA ignored their complaints and deliberately concealed abuse that happened for decades. UCLA acknowledged it received a sex abuse complaint against Heaps from a patient in December 2017 and it launched an investigation that concluded she was sexually assaulted and harassed. Heaps continued to practice until his retirement in June 2018. The university did not release its findings until November 2019, months after Heaps was arrested.