Numerous pending lawsuits allege that the University of Southern California (USC) failed to properly handle student reports about onsite gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall’s inappropriate sexual conduct. According to the Los Angeles Times, the university first began receiving complaints as early as the 1990s but failed to take any disciplinary action against Tyndall until 2016. If USC covered up alleged sexual assault by Dr. George Tyndall, the university could be liable for the alleged abuse.
Even though USC knew about Tyndall’s alleged abuse, the university failed to uphold its duty and effectively gave Tyndall an opportunity to allegedly harass and molest students throughout his almost 30-year tenure. This placed a countless number of women in harm’s way. If you believe you might have been a victim of Tyndall’s alleged abuse, contact a lawyer today at 877-385-9792. A lawyer can help you fight for justice.
What Did USC Know About Tyndall’s Alleged Abuse?
USC staff members, students, alumni, and the Chinese consulate have been demanding accountability from the university regarding the way it handled reports against Tyndall. According to the Times’ report on this case, USC admitted to knowing about at least eight complaints from 2000 to 2014. However, students and staff say they made complaints against Tyndall as early as the 1990s.
Furthermore, the Times found that:
- On numerous occasions, nurses or medical assistants who chaperoned gynecological appointments reported concerns about Tyndall’s behavior;
- Several students submitted letters complaining about Tyndall, which were read aloud during monthly committee meetings;
- A nurse at the clinic referred student complaints to her immediate supervisor and the head of nursing; and
- When students told clinic staffers about their concerns, they sometimes heard that they were not the first to make complaints.
What Were the Complaints Against Tyndall?
The allegations against Tyndall report inappropriate behavior and potential sexual assault. The accusations include reports that say Tyndall:
- Photographed patients’ genitals;
- Made patients lay completely naked for exams;
- Performed pelvic exams without gloves;
- Inappropriately touched patients; and
- Made inappropriate and racially insensitive remarks.
What Actions Did USC Take When Patients Filed Complaints?
USC faculty and staff referred the complaints from department to department, yet for years, the college never informed the students or took any action against Tyndall.
Students Met a Dead End After Voicing Their Concerns.
According to the Times, in 2013, numerous chaperones told a supervisor about the student complaints of Tyndall’s inappropriate behavior. The supervisor referred the complaints to the clinic’s executive director and the head of clinic nursing. Nothing resulted from these complaints.
USC Failed to Investigate Effectively.
USC’s Office of Equity and Diversity—which is the department that investigates discrimination and sexual misconduct—also became involved in this case. While the university states that an investigator from the department interviewed one patient and seven employees, several people involved in the case said they were neither informed of the investigation nor interviewed.
USC Leadership Did Not Act on Complaints Against Tyndall.
Numerous chaperones also forwarded the student complaints about Tyndall to the university clinic’s head of quality and safety, who passed the concerns on to USC leadership and clinic administrators. However, USC never released any details or conclusions of any internal investigations.
The USC Rape Crisis Center Did Not Take Quick Action.
Distressed about USC’s lack of action, In June 2016, one nurse went to USC’s rape crisis center and reported the concerns regarding Tyndall’s conduct. It was not until additional evidence against Tyndall was found that USC began to move on this case.
Is USC Facing Any Legal Investigations Because of This Case?
Investigations into USC’s action are underway. In a recent press release, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it would commence a detailed investigation into how USC handled reports of sexual harassment against Tyndall.
The Los Angeles Police Department is also conducting an investigation of more than 50 complaints of Tyndall’s sexual misconduct.
What Can I Do If I Was a Patient of Tyndall’s?
Numerous reports make it clear that many faculty members, staff, students, and departments at USC knew about Tyndall’s alleged sexual misconduct, and yet the university failed to take action to protect its students or notify outside authorities. This constitutes neglect—and the victimized students deserve retribution.