Victims of a gynecologist at the University of Southern California (USC) have filed lawsuits against the university, alleging officials at the school knew about the gynecologist’s behavior but allowed him to continue practicing. The sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against Dr. George Tyndall, the University of Southern California, and Does 1 through 500.
Though sexual assault and sexual harassment lawsuits have been filed, there are possibly many more victims who have not yet come forward. In addition to suffering physical harm, the victims likely also have emotional trauma to work through as well. USC, its officials, and the USC gynecologist involved should be held accountable for the wrongs done to women who sought treatment from the doctor.
Los Angeles Times Investigation Alleges Pattern of Abuse
According to a May 16, 2018, report in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. George Tyndall was the only full-time gynecologist at USC. During his almost 30 years at the school, he saw tens of thousands of female patients, many of whom had never seen a gynecologist before. As early as the 1990s, co-workers filed complaints against Tyndall, alleging he photographed students’ genitals, touched USC women inappropriately, and made unacceptable comments about patients’ bodies.
Finally, in 2016 a nurse complained to the USC rape crisis center and Tyndall was suspended. He resigned after a payout with the university. USC conducted an investigation and found Tyndall’s conduct was inappropriate, but the university did not let Tyndall’s patients know, nor did they file any reports with the Medical Board of California.
University Failed to Protect Students from Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment
Following complaints of inappropriate photos being taken, the university demanded Tyndall to stop using the camera. But by the early 2000s, students complained about being touched in ways they weren’t comfortable with. Between 2000 and 2014, USC received eight complaints, including reports that he made “racially insensitive” comments. Other concerns raised by coworkers included unnecessary full body scans and comments on students’ bodies—including referring to “perky breasts.”
Because this was the first gynecological exam for many of the USC women, they may not have been aware that the treatment or comments they received were inappropriate.
Shortly after the Los Angeles Times report came out, USC admitted it erred in its response to complaints about Tyndall.
USC Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Lawsuits have now been filed against Tyndall and USC in federal and state court, alleging patients were inappropriately touched, faced harassing comments, and suffered sexual abuse from Tyndall. The lawsuits also allege USC failed in its duty to protect students who sought treatment from Tyndall. Among the alleged actions mentioned in the lawsuit against Tyndall:
- Forcing patients to strip naked
- Taking inappropriate photos of students
- Groping patients’ breasts
- Engaging in practices that had no legitimate medical purpose
- Engaging in sexual misconduct
Among the allegations against USC:
- Concealing Tyndall’s sexual abuse
- Putting finances above patient protection
- Allowing Tyndall sexual access to female USC students
Plaintiffs also allege that because the medical chaperones who were in the room at the time of the exams did not say anything about the inappropriate conduct, they believed Tyndall’s actions were appropriate. Finally, lawsuits allege that if USC had followed the law regarding Tyndall’s conduct, his assaults would have ended years ago.
In addition to the lawsuits, a petition has also been started calling on USC President C.L. Max Nikias to resign or be fired.
USC Sexual Assault Attorney
Patients trust doctors to provide them with proper, appropriate care. When sexual assault, sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior takes place, that trust is violated. Worse, when they complain to the people overseeing the abuser and those complaints are not taken seriously, another level of trust is violated.
Unfortunately, these situations occur all too frequently. We recently represented a woman who was molested during a gynecological exam by a doctor at a university-affiliated clinic and achieved a substantial settlement on her behalf.
Patients who suffered sexual assault, molestation, or sexual harassment at USC not only suffered physical harm, they likely suffered emotional trauma, too. It’s vital that those responsible for ensuring student safety are held accountable for their failure to do so. USC allegedly allowed a doctor to continue to see vulnerable patients despite having received complaints putting thousands of women at risk of USC rape, abuse, assault, and harassment.
Because Tyndall had access to thousands of female USC students, it is likely there are many victims who have not yet come forward. If you or someone you know suffered abuse while at USC, contact an attorney at Cutter Law today. Our caring and compassionate attorneys are experienced in sexual assault litigation and managing claims that involve sensitive information.