The University of Southern California (USC) has agreed to pay an $852 million settlement to more than 700 women who accused George Tyndall, a longtime campus gynecologist, of sexual abuse during exams.
When combined with an earlier $215 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that applies to around 18,000 of Tyndall’s patients, the total payout tops $1 billion for sexual abuse claims against Tyndall.
It is believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university, according to attorneys.
“Institutions don’t pay out a billion dollars because nothing happened or they’re not responsible,” said John Manly, co-lead counsel for women suing USC. “We were able to prove in court that USC knew for the better part of 30 years that Tyndall was assaulting patients.”
Tyndall, 74, was the only full-time gynecologist at USC’s student health clinic from 1989 until 2016. Within a few years, patients and colleagues complained that he was inappropriately photographing student’s genitals. The photos were recently found in his possession.
Patients also reported that he forced them to strip completely naked for exams, routinely inserted his ungloved fingers before a speculum, groped their breasts, and made sexual and racist comments in exams.
The nursing “chaperones” that were supposed to monitor pelvic exams also complained that he used a curtain to hide their view.
Tyndall was not suspended until 2016, when a nurse finally reported him to the campus rape crisis center. USC investigated the claims and allowed Tyndall to quietly resign with a large payout the next year.
USC did not report his actions to the medical board of California, or police, until after a 2018 report by the Los Angeles Times revealed numerous complaints abut Tyndall’s sexual misconduct dating back to the 1990s. He was soon arrested and stripped of his medical license.
Tyndall is facing 35 criminal counts of sexual misconduct and faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bond.