A former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, appeared in court on Tuesday as he faces 21 charges of sexually abusing his patients over the course of nine years.
Dr. James Heaps, 64, appeared at a arraignment hearing in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
He was indicted by a grand jury last week on multiple charges of sexually assaulting seven women, including a patient who was unconscious during his time as a gynecologist for UCLA.
He faces multiple counts of sexual battery through fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient, and sexual penetration of an unconscious person through fraudulent representation between 2009 and 2018. If convicted on all charges, Heaps faces up to 91 years in prison.
He has previously denied the allegations and any allegations.
Dr. James Heaps, a former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday on charges of 21 sexual assault charges.
Heaps has pleaded not guilty to these charges and has denied all charges. His attorney, Leonard Levine, told the Los Angeles Times that he is “confident he will be acquitted at trial.”
‘Dr. Heaps is confident he will be acquitted at trial,” his lawyer Leonard Levine said The Los Angeles Times.
Heaps was first arrested in June 2019, prompting about 300 women to come forward and accuse him of sexual misconduct. wand.
One of the prosecutors, Gabriela Vasquez, a former medical assistant at UCLA, spoke of The Today Show about her experience with Heaps in January 2017.
“He introduced the ultrasound and simulated while having intercourse with me,” she recalls. “And I said, ‘This isn’t okay, this isn’t right.’
She said she immediately called her supervisor to report the incident, but nothing was done until December 2017, almost a year later.
On this June 26, 2019, file photo, Heaps, center, his wife Deborah, left, and attorney Tracy Green exit Los Angeles Superior Court. Heaps was taken into custody Monday on $1.19 million bail after grand jury indictment was unsealed
Three of Heaps’ 300 accusers, (left to right), Gaby Vasquez, Ellen Cater and Julie Orsatti, spoke about their experiences with him on the Today Show in 2019
Julie Orsatti also claimed that she saw Heaps every few months between 2017 and 2018.
“He had his hands all over my body,” she said. “Using his whole hand and palm, hanging on too long and telling me my breasts were beautiful.”
And Ellen Carter said she visited Heaps’ office just two days before his office closed, and said, “I came in, got undressed, he sexually assaulted me.”
Heaps’ medical license has since been suspended.
The University of California system announced in November that it agreed to a $73 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit that could see 6,600 patients get a payout even if they didn’t charge him with any wrongdoing.
The patients can charge $250,000 or more in certain cases. A panel of experts will decide how much each patient will be paid based on her experiences.
More than 100 former patients of Heaps have also filed individual lawsuits, with California Governor Gavin Newsom approving a measure last year to extend the time victims can file legal claims against Heaps and UCLA.
Victims now have until the end of the year to submit their claim.
The University of California system agreed to a $73 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit in November