On March 25, 2021, the University of Southern California announced it will pay a total of over $1.1 billion to hundreds of former patients of a campus gynecologist accused of sexual abuse. The settlement is a combination of an earlier 2018 class-action lawsuit, several dozen lawsuits with unpublicized settlements, and a more recent $852 million settlement of a suit with over 700 plaintiffs.
The multiple plaintiffs allege that Dr. George Tyndall, in his role as a campus gynecologist, sexually assaulted patients, subjected them to inappropriate sexual comments, took and shared explicit photos of patients, and violated the standard of care. Disturbingly, plaintiffs, as well as other U.S.C. medical staff, began to report abuse and inappropriate behavior in the early 1990s. The university failed to report Dr. Tyndall to the state medical board, sufficiently investigate the complaints, or remove him from his position. Dr. Tyndall continued to practice on U.S.C.’s campus until 2016. In 2018, the allegations against Dr. Tyndall became public, and the university received a flood of complaints and allegations of abuse. Dr. Tyndall was arrested in 2019 and charged with 35 counts of criminal sexual misconduct. He pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and currently awaits trial.
Universities are beginning to recognize the dire consequences of shirking their responsibility to protect students and failing to investigate allegations of misconduct. Michigan State University failed to protect victims of Dr. Lawrence Nassar, a physician who abused his young patients. Pennsylvania State University failed to act on knowledge of child sexual abuse by assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Both universities paid substantial settlements to plaintiffs as a result of their failure to act.
Victims of sexual abuse can seek justice through civil litigation. Our attorneys will aggressively advocate for survivors of sexual abuse and help them navigate the journey to compensation, acknowledgment, and consequences for institutions that fail to address abuse.
If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual abuse, please call us at (802) 457-4848.