America’s University of California has agreed to pay $243.6 million in damages to more than 200 women patients who alleged they were sexually abused by a campus doctor, media reports said.
Several women, some of whom had cancer, alleged that Dr James Heaps, a gynaecologist at the university’s Los Angeles campus, sexually abused them while he served at the public institution’s health centre during 1983-2018.
In a litany of lawsuits, the university has been accused of deliberately concealing Heaps’ alleged sexual abuse of his patients.
Each of the 200 women would get about $1.2 million.
"The conduct alleged to have been committed by Heaps is reprehensible and contrary to the university's values," UCLA said on Tuesday in a statement.
"We express our gratitude to the brave individuals who came forward, and hope this settlement is one step toward providing healing and closure for the plaintiffs involved."
The university said it hoped the financial settlement would provide "healing and closure" for the women involved.
The UCLA payout is the latest in a string of financial settlements by American universities in cases of similar nature.
Only last month, the University of Michigan agreed to pay nearly $500 million to settle with about 1,000 people, mostly former male students, who alleged they were sexually abused by sports doctor Robert Anderson, who served there for 40 years before passing away in 2008.
Similarly, the University of Southern California reached a $852 million settlement last year with 700 women who accused the campus gynaecologist of having sexually abused them.