USC to Pay $215 Million in Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Settlement
The University of Southern California has settled a class-action lawsuit involving gynecologist Dr. George M. Tyndall, who sexually abused hundreds of students for decades.
As a part of the settlement, the university will provide a $215 million Settlement Fund for survivors who were sexually assaulted, abused or harassed by Tyndall during his decades-long stint at the campus medical center.
Confirmed Settlement Class Members will receive payments ranging from $2,500 to $250,000, which will be decided on the basis of the submission of a claim form describing their experience, impact, and/or damages suffered.
“This proposed settlement not only brings meaningful relief to this class of USC graduates and students but stands as a testament both to the strength of these women, coming forward to tell their truth, and to the ability of class actions to create real positive impact for those who have suffered,” the JND Legal Administration firm that represented the former students said in a release.
The settlement also requires the university to undertake initiatives that would help in preventing such incidents from happening in the future. It would hire an independent women’s health advocate on campus, conduct stringent background checks, training, and monitoring of health center employees, and improve procedures at the university for preventing and reporting potential abuse or harassment, among other measures.
Last month, Tyndall was charged with 18 counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud for sexually assaulting 16 young women who went to the campus health center for annual exams or for other treatments between 2009 and 2016. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 53 years in state prison.
According to hundreds of reports by former and current students, Tyndall used to take nude photographs of patients while conducting inappropriate pelvic and digital penetration exams. He had also been accused of making lewd and racial comments during visits.
Tyndall allegedly often targeted minority students, including many from the university’s large Asian student population, who were not fluent in English or unfamiliar with gynecological exams.