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The University of Southern California’s interim president and board of trustees say they have reached an agreement to establish a settlement fund to compensate students treated by Dr. George Tyndall, a former gynecologist who has been accused of sexually molesting patients at the USC student health center.
On October 19, Interim President Wanda M. Austin issued a statement announcing that the university has reached an agreement in principle with plaintiffs which would pay all of Tyndall’s former patients compensation of $2,500 each. For those who specifically reported suffering abuse, that compensation could rise up to $250,000.
The details of the settlement are described in full by a FAQ released by the university. It indicates that there will be three tiers of compensation:
- Tier 1 is a $2,500 pay out for any students treated for women’s health issues by Tyndall.
- Tier 2 will allow Tyndall’s former patients to seek from $7,500 to $20,000 by providing a written statement on his actions, the personal impact of those actions, and any injuries suffered.
- Tier 3 allows patients to seek from $7,500 to $250,000 if the former patients are willing to provide written statements as in Tier 2, as well as participate in a respectful, private interview by a licensed psychologist.
“Our Board of Trustees supports this settlement, which was reached in collaboration with plaintiffs’ counsel, and which will provide relief to those who have been impacted by this difficult experience,” Austin wrote. “By doing so, we hope that we can help our community move collectively toward reconciliation. I regret that any student ever felt uncomfortable, unsafe, or mistreated in any way as a result of the actions of a university employee.”
For decades, Dr. Tyndall worked as a gynecologist at the university’s student health center, and it now appears that he engaged in inappropriate conduct for years, which was allegedly ignored by the university.
“When I became chair of the Board last May, I pledged that the university would treat anyone impacted by this experience with dignity and respect including, and most importantly, instructing our team to resolve this litigation as thoughtfully and fairly as possible,” Rich J. Caruso, Chair of the USC board of trustees, wrote in a separate statement. “While we cannot change the past, it is my sincere hope that this timely settlement provides some measure of relief to those impacted and their families.”
USC Sexual Assaults
To date, nearly 300 women have filed USC sexual assault lawsuits, and a number of class action claims have been brought to pursue damages on behalf of all students treated by the former gynecologist at the student health center.
In May, USC President C. L. Max Nikias agreed to resign just days after he sent a letter to students and staff announcing the results of an investigation into allegations that Tyndall engaged in inappropriate behavior with USC students while working as a gynecologist in the university health clinic.
Tyndall was allowed to retire in June 2017, and to date faces no criminal charges, despite dozens of claims that he assaulted female patients, and made both sexually suggestive and racist comments for years.
While USC indicated that it could find no evidence of criminal conduct, the University acknowledged in the statement that Tyndall’s behavior was unacceptable, and should not have been tolerated for so long.
The pattern of USC student sexual abuse was only addressed by the university after a nurse, frustrated with the lack of response to numerous complaints, took the issue to the campus’s rape crisis center. That led to an investigation of Tyndall, along with a suspension of his duties, and eventually a deal between Tyndall and USC that culminated in his retirement.
The University only reported his activities to the California Medical Board in March, after Tyndall contacted USC indicating that he wanted his job back.