The University of Southern California recently agreed to settle a lawsuit with 80 former students over sexual abuse allegations.
The University of Southern California recently announced a settlement agreement with 80 male former students who sued the school over claims they were “sexually abused by a former campus doctor over the course of two decades.” The plaintiffs were represented by attorney Mikayla Kellogg.
According to the lawsuit, Dennis Kelly was the campus physician accused of abusing the students. He has since been fired from his position and left the university back in 2018 “after six male graduates came forward with allegations that Kelly engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct during appointments, such as rectal examinations.” Additionally, the plaintiffs in the suit alleged that “Kelly also discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation and gender.” It’s important to note that of the 80 male plaintiffs, 76 of them identify as bisexual or gay.
The suit further noted that the university knew about Kelly’s misconduct but failed to do anything about it. This failure to act on behalf of the university made it possible for Kelly to continue seeing students. It wasn’t until 2020 that Kelly finally lost his license to practice medicine.
“The settlement was achieved through the persistence and bravery of our clients who had the strength to come forward to share the harrowing details of their experiences at the USC Student Health Center and the determination to hold USC accountable for its failure to protect its students…The settlement today is another step toward closure for our clients who finally feel a sense of recognition and validation for speaking up.”
How did the university respond to the settlement announcement? For starters, it issued the following statement:
“USC and the students who made allegations against Dr. Dennis Kelly have reached a global settlement of the lawsuits. USC’s highest commitment is to the safety and health of all members of the Trojan community, including the current and former students involved in this matter… Settling the cases provides closure for all involved and avoids several more years of litigation.”
This isn’t the first time that the university has come under fire over allegations of sexual misconduct. Just last year, USC forked over more than $850 million “to hundreds of women who were treated by former campus gynecologist George Tyndall.” The women accused Tyndall of sexual misconduct. They claimed he “made lewd comments, photographed the women and groped them during medical examinations.”