News

Former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps convicted of 5 counts of sexual abuse

A former UCLA gynecologist was convicted of 21 charges alleging various forms of sexual abuse, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said in a statement.

James Heaps, 65, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault by fraud and two counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, according to the release.

He was acquitted of three counts of sexual assault by fraud, three counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person and one count of sexual exploitation of a patient, and a mistrial was declared on 10 other counts, they said. The defendant will remain in custody until sentencing, his attorney Leonard Levin said.

The alleged abuse occurred when Heaps was working part-time at the student health center from about 1983 to 2010 and was hired by UCLA Health in 2014, UCLA previously said. He was originally indicted in 2019 and then indicted by a grand jury in 2021 on sexual misconduct charges between 2009 and 2018, the district attorney’s office said.

While “it is disappointing” that Heaps has not been found guilty on all counts, the district attorney’s office can appeal, said Jeanette Meyers, deputy deputy director of the airport branch. She also applauded the victims for coming forward and sharing their experiences.

Nicole Gumpert, one of the victims in the criminal case, said that while she is disappointed by the mixed verdict, coming forward was important for his “psychological, emotional and spiritual health and well-being.”

“I am here to put a face and a voice to the horrible abuse of Dr. Heaps and to say to you, survivors, do not let anything stop you from coming forward just because our road has been long and arduous,” Gumpert said.

“It’s a relief that he’s going behind bars today,” said a woman who gave her name as Julie and was involved in civil litigation. “The fear that he was out there, you know the dates happened a while ago, but the terror is still with you.”