$215M settlement proposed in alleged USC gynecologist abuse

Associated Press
People enter the University of Southern California's Engemann Student Health Center in Los Angeles. Nearly 100 women who contend that they were sexually harassed or abused by a former University of Southern California gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, are suing the school, arguing it ignored decades of complaints.

Los Angeles – The University of Southern California on Friday announced an agreement in principle for a $215 million class-action settlement of claims involving alleged sexual harassment and abuse by a gynecologist who treated students for decades.

The agreement will provide compensation ranging from $2,500 up to $250,000 to the women who have claimed abuse by Dr. George Tyndall between 1988 and 2016, USC Interim President Wanda Austin said in a statement.

About 500 current and former students have now made accusations against Tyndall. They contend he routinely made crude comments, took inappropriate photos, forced them to strip naked and groped them under the guise of medical treatment.

Tyndall spent about three decades as a USC staff gynecologist before retiring last year after a university investigation concluded there was evidence that Tyndall sexually harassed students during exams.

Tyndall has denied the allegations and has not been charged with a crime. USC has denied accusations of a cover-up.

The university was first criticized in the case after the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year that complaints and comments about Tyndall’s care went unheeded by the school for decades and that USC failed to report him to the medical board even after the school quietly forced him into retirement.

Two administrators were fired and President C.L. Max Nikias stepped down following the criticism.

The Los Angeles police and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office are reviewing allegations against Tyndall.

Austin said in a statement that since she became interim university president, “a fair and respectful resolution for as many former patients as possible has been?a priority for the university and for me personally.”

“Many sweeping changes have been made and we continue to?work every day to prevent all forms of misconduct on our campuses, to provide outstanding care to all students, and to ensure we have policies and procedures that prioritize respect for our students and our entire university community,” she said.

On Thursday, 93 women who say Tyndall abused or harassed them announced a lawsuit against the university, saying it ignored decades of complaints.

“I am part of an accidental sisterhood of hundreds of women because the university we love betrayed our trust,” said Dana Loewy, who said Tyndall assaulted her during an exam in 1993.

Two women said they called USC’s hotline to report complaints against Tyndall but received no follow-up.