The number of lawsuits against the University of Southern California and one of its now-retired doctors continues to increase as 51 women—who accuse the student health center’s former full-time gynecologist, George Tyndall, of touching them inappropriately—filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday over the school’s handling of the alleged abuse.
Back in May, the Times reported that six women claimed Tyndall—who retired after working at USC for nearly 30 years—had “sexually victimized them under the pretext of medical care” and that the school had failed to protect them, despite being informed of Tyndall’s misconduct. In the new lawsuits, filed by both current and former students, the victims said the university mishandled complaints made as early as 1990 and allege that after an internal investigation into the claims against Tyndall in 2016, USC still paid him upon his resignation.
Tyndall retired in 2017 and has denied all allegations against him, which include making lewd comments and inappropriately touching patients during pelvic exams. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced it had opened an investigation into how USC responded to the complaints against Tyndall, which had been made by hundreds of women.
“The University is conducting a thorough investigation into this matter,” USC said in a statement Monday. “We will be seeking a prompt and fair resolution that is respectful of our former students. We are committed to providing the women of USC with the best, most thorough and respectful health care services of any university.”
The Los Angeles Times also reported that Tyndall’s coworkers claimed he was improperly photographing students genitals. Complaints of Tyndall allegedly inserting his fingers into patients vaginas improperly also surfaced, and many who worked with Tyndall told the newspaper that they feared he had been targeting Chinese students and students from other Asian countries who may have been unfamiliar with American medical practices
Since the allegations first came to light, 200 USC professors penned an open letter, asking university president C.L. Max Nikias to resign over the “mounting evidence” of his “failure to protect our students, our staff, and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct.” USC’s board of trustees announced on May 25 that Nikias would step down.
The allegations against Tyndall follow the high-profile case of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who used his role as a medical professional to sexually abuse hundreds of women and Olympic athletes.
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to up to 175 years in prison in Michigan.