US gynecologist sentenced to pay $73 million
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US gynecologist sentenced to pay $73 million

A federal judge on Monday issued final approval for a $73 million settlement of a lawsuit alleging that about 6,000 women were sexually assaulted by a former University of California gynecologist, according to the Associated Press.

The class-action lawsuit, filed by the victims in 2019, included allegations that from 1983 to 2018, Dr. James Hibbs molested women while using an ultrasound probe, made inappropriate comments during examinations at the University of California Student Health Center, or Ronald Reagan Medical Center Campus.

The lawsuit also accused UCLA of failing to take action against Hibbs despite complaints and of following a "policy of indifference" to reports of sexual misconduct.

More than 100 former patients with HIPS have made individual claims or lawsuits, but the class action includes all potential victims. Each will receive between $2,500 and $250,000, with larger amounts including the extent of physical injury and emotional distress, as decided by a panel of experts.

UCLA did not admit wrongdoing in reaching the settlement last year, but the university agreed to change its procedures to prevent, identify, investigate and deal with sexual behavior.

This included requiring a trained attendant to be present during intimate physical examinations of patients 8 years of age or older unless they opted out.

A statement from the center said that “we cannot comment on the details of the legal process today, we can say unequivocally that misconduct or sexual assault cannot be justified. We thank the individuals who have come forward and hope that this settlement - which is still subject to approval Court - a small step forward for the patients involved."

Hibs was arrested in 2019 and his medical license was suspended. In May, it was reported that Hibs faces 21 new charges, which could carry a sentence of up to 24 years.


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