Los Angeles police discovered a set of naked photos when they raided the personal storage unit of a former university gynecologist at the center of a massive sexual misconduct probe earlier this year, according to a Los Angeles Times report Tuesday. Now, investigators are trying to determine whether any of those photos depict students he examined.
In interviews, police have been asking anyone who may have encountered the longtime University of Southern California gynecologist, George Tyndall, to scrape their memories for details of his student examination room, or any information — tattoos and frequently worn jewelry, for example — that could help identify the people in the photos, according to the Los Angeles Times. Police currently don’t want to show the images widely, for privacy reasons.
As of May this year, USC had received more than 85 current and former student testimonies accusing Tyndall, 71, of abuse during examinations. He has also been accused of molestation, making racist comments during appointments, and conducting pelvic exams without gloves. He worked for USC for nearly three decades, from 1989 to 2016.
In 2016, before Tyndall left the USC job, a box with photos of students’ genitals was also reportedly discovered in his office. Staff members had reportedly complained about Tyndall bringing a camera into the examination room, according to a Times expose, although Tyndall has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong or out of the ordinary. Tyndall has said the photos were for research purposes, and an internal university investigation found the photos were clinical and not sexual.
Tyndall hasn’t been charged with a crime.
The law office of Tyndall’s lawyer, Leonard Levine, did not immediately return a VICE News request for comment. The rental storage unit also contained pornographic photos and images of people without a known connection to the university, the Times reported.
“The photos were taken for medical purposes years ago, with the patients’ consent, and not viewed again by anyone, including Dr. Tyndall, after being moved to the storage facility over five years ago, after the health facility was moved to a new location,” Levine said in a statement to the Times.
Hundreds of current and former students have sued the university over Tyndall’s alleged conduct, which they charge included inappropriate comments, touching and groping. USC President C.L. Max Nikias stepped down in May, shortly after the Los Angeles Times first reported on the allegations surrounding Tyndall. The university agreed to settle a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of the former patients for $215 million in October.
“This plays into the worst nightmares of women,” John Manly, an attorney representing former Tyndall patients, told the Times, adding between 10 and 20 of his clients were questioned by police regarding the photos.
Cover: A young man rides a bicycle on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles on May 17, 2018. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)