New Victims of Dr. Tyndall Emerge, University Agrees to Settle
Hundreds of women have claimed they were sexually harassed or assaulted by former University of Southern California gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall and are suing the school, saying it ignored years of complaints. Tyndall spent about three decades as a USC staff gynecologist before retiring in 2017 after a USC investigation concluded that there was evidence he had sexually harassed students during physical examinations.
“I am part of an accidental sisterhood of hundreds of women because the university we love betrayed our trust,” said Dana Loewy, who alleged that Dr. George Tyndall assaulted her during an examination in 1993. She was among nearly two dozen women who appeared in person at a news conference to announce the filing of new lawsuits on behalf of 93 victims against the University of Southern California.
Approximately 500 current and former students have now made accusations against Dr. Tyndall. They have alleged that since 1988 the doctor routinely made inappropriate comments and gestures towards them, took lewd photographs, and forced plaintiffs to strip naked so he could grope them under the guise of medical treatment.
The Los Angeles police and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office both are reviewing the allegations. However, Attorney John Manly called on the state attorney general’s office to investigate USC’s handling of abuse and harassment complaints. He accused USC’s Board of Trustees of failing to speak out and named some of the more prominent members, including Steven Spielberg, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
“They haven’t said a word. Not one,” he said. “All these women: 500. You’re on the board. Say something.” Manly added, “The University of Southern California, my alma mater, is the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars of state of California aid, and it is clear they miserably failed these women.”
Brennan Heil, a USC senior, went to see Tyndall as a freshman after she was raped. “During the consultation, he molested me,” she alleged. Two other women said they called USC’s hotline to report complaints but received no follow-up.
It wasn’t until early in 2018 USC personnel decided to report Tyndall to the California Medical Board. By that time, Tyndall had already written a letter asking for reinstatement and had left his position. Then, in August, USC President C. L. Max Nikias ultimately decided to step down amid criticism.
“In hindsight, we should have made this report eight months earlier when he separated from the university,” Nikias wrote at the time. He added that there had been repeated complaints about Dr. Tyndall dating back to 2000, which “were concerning enough that it is not clear today why the former health center director permitted Tyndall to remain in his position.”
Nikias went on to explain, “While we have no evidence of criminal conduct, we have no doubt that Dr. Tyndall’s behavior was completely unacceptable. It was a clear violation of our Principles of Community, and a shameful betrayal of our values.”
In a statement, USC said it will seek “a prompt and fair resolution that is respectful of our former students.” The university has denied allegations of a cover-up but agreed to pay $215 million to settle all claims.