Letters to the Editor: Settlements aren’t enough. UCLA needs to hold others accountable for alleged abuse

Students walk on the UCLA campus in March 2020. A lawsuit alleges years of abuse by a campus gynecologist.
Students walk on the UCLA campus in March 2020. A lawsuit alleges years of abuse by a campus gynecologist.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: UCLA has denounced former gynecologist Dr. James Heaps and says its first and highest obligation will always be to the communities it serves. Yet those at UCLA who ignored reports of sexual abuse remain safe because in America, female patients in stirrups are not very important.

What’s important is that organizations like UCLA and USC continue to hold their top earners in high regard.

The latest settlement of $374.4 million is being awarded to 312 former patients who sued the University of California system, alleging they were abused by Heaps. Attorney Jennifer McGrath, who represented the plaintiffs, said UCLA ignored decades of reports by employees and patients because Heaps was the “top earner at UCLA Health.”


One plaintiff said the people who covered up this abuse should be held accountable too. I doubt that will happen. While the plaintiffs continue to suffer with horrible memories, those who allowed patients to be mistreated remain safe.

I wonder where they go for gynecologic care.

Gini Hassing, Arroyo Grande


To the editor: UCLA apparently has adequate funds to settle with the female victims of years of gross negligence with regard to the alleged abuse by Dr. Heaps. This is the same university that seeks adjunct faculty to teach without any or with token compensation for the privilege of adding UCLA’s prestigious name to their CVs.

Little has been said about the fates of those many in the administration responsible for facilitating these 35 years of abuse by ignoring it in exchange for the prestige Heaps added to UCLA’s CV and the relative pittance he added to its bottom line.

At this pace, UCLA students will be ashamed of the name UCLA and choose to describe themselves solely as graduates of the University of California.

Les Weinstein, Los Angeles