USC to pay $852m to victims over abuse claims against gynaecologist George Tyndall

26 March 2021, 12:57

Dr. George Tyndall listens during his arraignment at Los Angeles Superior court
Dr. George Tyndall listens during his arraignment at Los Angeles Superior court. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The University of Southern California has agreed to pay more than 700 victims of an abusive gynaecologist $852 million in what is thought to be the largest pay out of its kind.

Lawyers for victims and USC announced the payments for claims against Dr George Tyndal, who faces 35 criminal counts of alleged sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2016 at the university's student health centre.

The 74-year-old has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.

When combined with an earlier settlement of a separate class-action suit and other, smaller state court settlements, USC has agreed to pay out more than one billion dollars (£730 million) for claims against Tyndall, who worked at the school for nearly three decades.

Hundreds of women came forward to report their allegations to police but some of the cases fell outside the 10-year criminal statute of limitations, while others did not rise to the level of charges or lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Still, he faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted.

Dr Tyndall worked at worked at USC for nearly three decades
Dr Tyndall worked at worked at USC for nearly three decades. Picture: PA

During a press conference on Thursday, multiple victims reported he did examinations without wearing gloves.

Other said he would make them undress while he was in the room, and one victim said he took photos of her for "research purposes".

Another said the damage he caused was "incalculable", and that despite her asking for a female attendant to be in the room, he sent the nurse away and proceeded to do the exam regardless.

"I felt so violated that I didn't go back to a gyno for five years afterwards," she added, saying she did not consider Tyndall to be a sexual predator initially, because she thought it was something she had done which invited him to "act inappropriately".

"In other words i blamed myself," and said she was "shocked and horrified" to learn he had continued his actions after she was gone.

 "USC knew about this predator and did not stop him from abusing women."

"I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community," USC President Carol L Folt said in a statement.

"We appreciate the courage of all who came forward and hope this much needed resolution provides some relief to the women abused by George Tyndall."

Several victims on Thursday called for criminal charges to be filed against USC administrators who knew of the allegations against Tyndall for decades and did not fire him.

Ms Folt took office later, in 2019, as part of an overhaul of USC leadership amid the unfolding gynaecologist and college entrance bribery scandals. USC and its insurers will cover the cost of the settlements.

The 852 million dollar civil settlement is believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university, according to the plaintiffs' attorneys, as well as the largest personal injury settlement against any college or university.