9 more women file lawsuits against UCLA gynecologist

FILE - In this June 26, 2019 file photo UCLA gynec...

FILE - In this June 26, 2019 file photo UCLA gynec...

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nine more women have alleged in two lawsuits they were sexually assaulted by a former gynecologist who worked for the University of California, Los Angeles.

The lawsuits state the women were assaulted by Dr. James Heaps during examinations between 1989 and 2017. The women allege the inappropriate touching sometimes without gloves was not for any legitimate medical purpose and solely for Heaps' sexual gratification.

Heaps has been criminally charged with the sexual battery of two patients but denies any wrongdoing. He has pleaded not guilty.

The most recent lawsuits were filed Thursday and Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the doctor, the university system's regents and other parties. Three of the nine women were UCLA students at the time of the alleged assaults; the other six were not students and saw Heaps at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Three other women have filed lawsuits against Heaps since he was arrested last month.

The university has said its investigation into the gynecologist began in December 2017, though officials did not alert the campus community of the allegations until Heaps was in court last month. He retired in 2018 when the university declined to renew his contract. UCLA has promised an independent review of its response.

The Los Angeles Times reported the university's regents finalized a $2.25 million settlement with one of the victims in the criminal case. The university also settled with a nurse practitioner who claimed sexual harassment and retaliation by Heaps for participating in the investigation for nearly $1.3 million.

The state medical board's website shows no records of discipline against Heaps and he has a current license to practice medicine.

The doctor is due back in court on July 30.

A UCLA spokeswoman and Heaps' lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.