The University of Southern California is now dealing with its own Larry Nassar-sized scandal.
Another 50-odd people sued the school Monday over accusations that officials mishandled allegations of sexual misconduct against a former campus gynecologist. More than 225 current and former students have now filed lawsuits against USC over the gynecologist’s alleged abuse, according to the Los Angeles Times.
That gynecologist, George Tyndall, started working at USC in 1989 and left in 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported in a May exposé. He stands accused of making sexual comments about students and inappropriately touching them without wearing medical gloves — including digitally penetrating them. Similar allegations plagued Nassar during his time at Michigan State University and with the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.
“I have a small rose tattoo on the inside of my thigh, and he said, ‘Oh, a picture for me.’ And that immediately created an atmosphere of false intimacy, inappropriateness,” said Loewy, adding she also told Tyndall that she was in a committed relationship with a woman. “The whole demeanor was salacious. Then he asked me whether all lesbians hated men.”
In mid-2016, a nurse realized no one had listened to her complaints about Tyndall and went to the campus rape crisis center, the Los Angeles Times reported. Staffers also soon found a trove of photos of patients’ genitals in Tyndall’s office.
USC placed Tyndall on leave. Ultimately, Tyndall was allowed to resign quietly.
The school purportedly did not talk to Tyndall’s patients about his alleged behavior nor report him to the state medical board, which is responsible for policing doctors. Officials only reported Tyndall to the board and to law enforcement following questions from Los Angeles Times journalists.
USC President C.L. Max Nikias stepped down in May, shortly after the Los Angeles Times started reporting on the Tyndall scandal.
Tyndall has denied any wrongdoing. In a statement to ABC News, his lawyer, Leonard Levine, said, "Dr. Tyndall is confident that when all the facts are known, particularly when experts in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology are consulted, it will be clear that his practice of medicine at USC, was consistent with the standard of care for such examinations, and for the stated medical purpose.”
The university has also hedged about its role in the abuse allegations.
“The University is conducting a thorough investigation into this matter. We will be seeking a prompt and fair resolution that is respectful of our former students,” the University of Southern California told VICE News in a statement. “We are committed to providing the women of USC with the best, most thorough and respectful health care services of any university.”
Michigan State University ended up paying out $500 million to Nassar’s victims. That settlement, at the time, was the largest ever reached in an American college sex abuse case.
But now, the University of Southern California isn’t the only college caught in a mushrooming scandal of Nassar-level proportions. Last week, more than 100 students accused a former Ohio State University doctor, Richard Strauss, of sexual misconduct. Although Strauss is now dead, one former student said that the publicity around Nassar’s crimes had inspired him to finally come forward, decades after the alleged abuse.
“I didn’t recognize my abuse until I saw it,” Mike DiSabato, a former Ohio State University wrestler, told the New York Times. “He started reading the details of these young ladies, and I said, ‘Dude, that’s us.’”
Cover image: People enter the University of Southern California's Engemann Student Health Center in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. More than 50 former and current students of the University of Southern California say in a new lawsuit that the school mishandled complaints that a longtime gynecologist engaged in inappropriate behavior during pelvic exams. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)