THE UNIVERSITY of Southern California has agreed to a record $1.1 billion settlement to former patients of “sexual abuser” gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall.
The USC has agreed to an $852 million settlement with more than 700 women who have accused the college’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse, the victims’ lawyers announced Thursday.
Combined with an earlier settlement of a separate class-action suit, reaches more than $1 billion, a record amount for such a lawsuit.
Dr. Tyndall, 74, who worked at the school for nearly three decades, faces 35 criminal counts of alleged sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2016 at the university’s student health centre.
He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.
Hundreds of women came forward with sexual harassment allegations but some of the cases fell outside the 10-year statute of limitations, while others did not rise to the level of criminal charges or lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute.
Still, he faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted.
“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.
The $852 million civil settlement is believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university, according to the plaintiff’s attorneys, as well as the largest personal injury settlement against any college or university.
The lawyers say no confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements were attached.
Tyndalls attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to settle claims from more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar.
That settlement was considered the largest at the time, far surpassing the $100 million-plus paid by Penn State University to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse.
Separately, USC earlier agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that applies to about 18,000 women who were patients of Tyndalls.
The individual payouts to those victims range from $2,500 to $250,000 and were given regardless of whether the women formally accused Tyndall of harassment or assault. The final payouts are expected to be issued this month.
Allegations against Tyndall first surfaced in 2018 in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, which revealed that the doctor had been the subject of complaints of sexual misconduct at USC dating back to the 1990s.
He wasn’t suspended until 2016 when a nurse reported him to a rape crisis center. He was able to quietly resign with a large payout the next year.
He was arrested in 2019 outside his apartment in Los Angeles and was charged with 29 counts of sexual assault involving 16 women.
According to the New York Times, more allegations of students arose after the university set up a hotline and website to receive complaints.
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Tyndall surrendered his medical license in September 2019, records show.
A report obtained by the Los Angeles Times as part of a Freedom of Information request revealed Dr Tyndall was targeting vulnerable Asian students due to their language skills and lack of familiarity with American gynecology.
“If the patients were young and Asian, they were more likely to have a pelvic exam completed,” the report stated.