Two-hundred professors signed a letter demanding that the president of the University of Southern California resign amid allegations that USC failed to properly respond to complaints of misconduct by a gynecologist.

A former gynecologist who worked with students at University of California, Los Angeles for nearly 30 years has been charged with sexually abusing patients

The school and prosecutors announced the charges against Dr. James Heaps on Monday, the same day he surrendered to law enforcement.  

Heaps, 62, faces charges involving his conduct with two patients at UCLA Health in 2017 and 2018, UCLA said in a statement. He worked part-time at the student health center from 1983 to 2010 and had staff privileges at the school’s medical center from 1988 until last year. 

Authorities charged him with two counts of sexual battery of fraud and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient, said Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Heaps had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

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Just last year, UCLA’s rival school, the University of Southern California, faced two class-action lawsuits for how the school responded to complaints against gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall. USC agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after more than 500 current and former students made accusations, all denied by Tyndall.

UCLA said it began investigating Heaps for sexual misconduct last year, removed him from practice and moved to fire him, triggering his decision to retire. The school said it also reported him to law enforcement and the state medical board.

“Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable and represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship,” Chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor John Mazziotta said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry that a former UCLA physician violated our policies and standards, our trust and the trust of his patients.”

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Heaps made $1.045 million from his job at UCLA in 2017, the latest year University of California pay data is available. 

The school said it launched an independent review in March of how it responds to sexual misconduct in clinical settings. 

Contributing: The Associated Press


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