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Gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct could cost USC $215 million in a class action suit

Scores of women say they were sexually abused by George Tyndall. He has denied all wrongdoing.

by Carter Sherman
Feb 13 2019, 4:10pm

The University of Southern California has agreed to pay out $215 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought against the university by scores of women who say they were sexually abused by George Tyndall, a longtime USC gynecologist, according to documents filed in federal court Tuesday.

As part of the settlement, the university plans to hire an independent advocate for women’s health, who will need to be court-approved, and expand its sexual misconduct and violence prevention training for students. USC will also run background checks on all its physicians, train personnel on recognizing and reporting sexual misconduct, and hire enough physicians that female students can see a female doctor, among other things.

“I am encouraged by today’s settlement filing, which takes another important step in healing our community,” USC Interim President Wanda M. Austin said in a statement.

“Providing a fair and respectful resolution to as many former impacted patients as possible, and making impactful changes that strengthen our university continues to be our top priorities,” she added.

Under the terms of the filing, which still has to be approved by a judge, everyone who Tyndall treated for “women’s health issues” will receive $2,500, regardless of their experience with Tyndall. If patients want to submit more information to a court-approved, independent administrator, they can receive up to $250,000.

As many as 17,000 people might qualify for the class action settlement, a USC lawyer told CNN back in October, when USC first tentatively agreed to pay $215 to settle the lawsuit.

Tyndall, who started working at USC in 1989, was first accused of sexual misconduct in the 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reported in a bombshell exposé last May. Despite multiple complaints — including, reportedly, allegations that he made sexually suggestive remarks to patients and touched women unprofessionally during pelvic exams — Tyndall was not suspended until 2016. Ultimately, USC USC let Tyndall resign quietly in 2017. It did not report him to the Medical Board of California at the time.

Tyndall has denied all wrongdoing. His lawyer, Leonard Levine, told CNN on Wednesday that he had no comment at the time.

While Tyndall has not been criminally charged, detectives presented prosecutors at Los Angeles County district attorney’s office with 85 cases for potential criminal charges, the Los Angeles Times reported in December.

Cover: People enter the University of Southern California's Engemann Student Health Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Four former USC students have sued the school and an ex-campus gynecologist who they accuse of sexual battery and sexual harassment. The civil lawsuit filed Monday, May 21 in Los Angeles alleges Dr. George Tyndall forced the plaintiffs to strip naked and groped them under the guise of medical treatment for his sexual gratification. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)