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USC Pays $1.1 Billion Settlement in Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

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The University of Southern California (USC) agreed to pay an additional $852 million in a settlement of a class-action sexual abuse lawsuit against former campus gynecologist George Tyndall.

With the addition of the previously approved $215 million settlement from a separate class-action lawsuit, USC has doled out a total of $1.1 billion for the victims of Tyndall’s alleged decades-long abuse. 

ABC7 reported that the financial arrangement is unprecedented for this type of suit. It is also believed to be “the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university” and “the largest personal injury settlement against any college or university,” according to the victims’ attorneys.

Alleged Sexual Abuse

Tyndall, 74, faces 35 counts of alleged sexual misconduct after being arrested in 2019. The charges include 18 counts of sexual penetration, 12 counts of sexual battery by fraud, and five counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person spanning from 2009 to 2016.

The Los Angeles Times launched an investigation in 2018 bringing the allegations against Tyndall to light. They found out that he had been on the receiving end of multiple sexual misconduct complaints that dated back to the 1990s.

Audry Nafziger, who was identified among Tyndall’s first victims, met the former USC gynecologist in 1990 when she was still young and clueless about proper procedures. 

“I thought it was odd, but what did I know? When he took his camera out to take pictures of me and asked me to participate in those photos, well, what did I know? I trusted him,” said Nafziger.

Christy Leach, who also accused Tyndall of sexually abusing her, revealed that “closed-door” exams gave Tyndall the freedom to do whatever he wanted with his patients.

University Mismanagement

Hundreds of women reported similar accusations to authorities. However, some cases did not qualify because of the 10-year statute of limitations, and other stories lacked sufficient evidence for criminal charges.

The investigations also turned up more than 1,000 homemade sex videos and many explicit photographs at Tyndall’s home. However, the former gynecologist wasn’t suspended until 2016. NBC News reported that he was able to resign from his post with a large payout.

According to an investigation by the US Department of Education, USC mishandled the accusations levelled against Tyndall during his employment at the university. The school then responded by creating a record-keeping system to effectively track employee complaints and subsequent measures taken.

“I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community. 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,” USC President Carol L. Folt said.

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