Respect Equality

USC to pay staggering $1.1B for sexual abuse claims by hundreds of women

university of southern california USC sex abuse dr gynecologist george tyndall 710 women girls college harassment assault $825 million $1.1 billion
A group of current and former USC students who are survivors of alleged sexual assault by gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall from the USC student health center and which occurred over a 30 years period, speak out during a press conference in Los Angeles, California on October 18, 2018. MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • USC issued another settlement to survivors of George Tyndall, totaling $1.1 billion paid in damages.
  • An investigation from the U.S. Department of Education found USC violated Title IX by not promptly investigating following initial allegations.

The University of Southern California (USC) settled Thursday the civil lawsuits brought forth by 710 women alleging former school gynecologist George Tyndall of sexual assault, abuse and harassment. The total sum amounts to more than $1.1 billion — believed to be the largest of its kind.

The university will now be paying for three separate lawsuits brought against Tyndall. In 2019, USC paid  $215 million in a class action settlement to some of Tyndall’s former patients and victims who were treated by him between 1989 to 2016. Plaintiffs in the case received a check of at least $2,500 in damages, with some eligible to claim awards up to $250,000. 

The most recent settlement totaled to $852 million and will go to the more than 700 plaintiffs. That settlement was approved by the USC Board of Trustees. 

“Our team is humbled by the courage of George Tyndall’s survivors, who endured this process, and hope this settlement brings them healing,” said John C. Manly, who represented part of the Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel.

Tyndall is accused of sexually assaulting collegiate patients between the years of 2000 and 2016 following a career at the school spanning roughly three decades. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into the accusations against Tyndall in 2018, lasting 21 months. 

The investigation revealed that USC violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by not promptly responding to at least nine complaints by patients of sexual harassment during medical examinations conducted by Tyndall. Critically, the OCR concluded that the school may have exposed students and patients to abuse constituting sex discrimination by the lack of action against Tyndall.

A summary of the investigation reveals that Tyndall had inappropriately used a privacy curtain to exclude chaperons from observing his examinations. Additionally, he improperly photographed patients’ genitals, and deviated from standard pelvic examination practice. He also reportedly made sexually harassing comments during his consultations.  

He was arrested in June 2019. As legal proceedings ensued, he consistently denied any wrongdoing. 

“I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community,” USC President Carol Folt commented. “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 suit against Tyndall recalls the Michigan State University settlement when its gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, was accused by hundreds of women and girls of sexual assault and abuse and sentenced to life in prison.

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