USC Is Paying $215 Million to Students Who Were Treated by Doctor Accused of Sexual Assault
Dr. George Tyndall worked at USC for about three decades
The University of Southern California is providing financial compensation to students who were patients of Dr. George Tyndall, a gynecologist who is facing allegations of sexual assault.
USC is offering $2,500 to Tyndall’s former student patients and up to $250,000 to those “who are willing to provide further details about their experience.”
“As of October 19, 2018, the university has reached agreement in principle on a $215 million class action settlement,” Wanda Austin, the interim president of USC, said in a statement. “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.”
USC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
About 500 current and former students have come forward with allegations against Tyndall, who worked at the university for around three decades, the Associated Press reported. Former patients reportedly say that Tyndall took pictures of them, made them remove their clothes and touched them inappropriately. Tyndall has denied wrongdoing.
Earlier in October, 93 women accused Tyndall in two lawsuits, according to CNN. In July, more than 50 people sued Tyndall and USC.
Some people took issue with the amount of money that USC has offered. “The only guaranteed number in this case is $2,500 — $2,500 won’t even get you a 50-yard-line seat at a USC football game, let alone compensate somebody for being sexually assaulted by their doctor when they were 18 or 17,” John Manly, an attorney for 180 accusers, said, according to the AP.
Tyndall retired in 2017 after a university investigation. Los Angeles police and the district attorney’s office are reviewing the claims.
Tyndall’s attorney Leonard Levine told PEOPLE his client “is focusing on the criminal allegations right now.”
“He has consistently denied them, and he is adamant that his examinations were for the stated medical purpose and within the standard of care for such examinations.”
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In May, C.L. Max Nikias resigned as USC president because of the scandal, CNN reported. Former patients have alleged that USC disregarded complaints about Tyndall.
“We still don’t know when did USC first know, how often were they warned, what administrators were involved, was there criminal conduct?” Manly said. “Our clients, more than anything, want those answers and people held accountable, not because it helps their case but to protect the future women at USC.”
“I am part of an accidental sisterhood of hundreds of women because the university we love betrayed our trust,” Dana Loewy, who claimed that Tyndall assaulted her during an examination in 1993, said at a recent press conference.
“A fair and respectful resolution for as many former patients as possible has been a priority for the university and for me personally since I began serving in the role of interim president,” Austin continued in her statement. “Many sweeping changes have been made and we continue to work every day to prevent all forms of misconduct on our campuses, to provide outstanding care to all students, and to ensure we have policies and procedures that prioritize respect for our students and our entire university community.”
“While we cannot change the past, it is my sincere hope that this timely settlement provides some measure of relief and closure to those impacted and their families,” Rick J. Caruso, the chair of the USC board of trustees, added in a statement.