The University of Southern California has agreed to a massive payout in its sexual abuse lawsuit.
According to the Associated Press, the university reached a $852 million civil settlement with about 700 women who claim they were sexually abused by USC’s former campus gynecologist George Tyndall. Attorneys for the plaintiffs announced the decision in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, claiming the agreement is the biggest sexual abuse settlement ever reached with a university.
“The sheer size of this settlement is testimony to the enormous harm that the depraved action of George Tyndall caused our clients,’’ a statement from the law firm of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, which represents 234 of the plaintiffs, said. “It also speaks to the culpability of USC in employing Tyndall for 30 years and ignoring volumes of complaints and evidence of his misdeeds.’’
The allegations against Tyndall have now cost USC more than $1.1 billion. The university previously agreed to a $215 million class-action settlement with other alumnae and students who made similar claims against the 74-year-old ex-doctor.
Tyndall served as the only full-time gynecologist at USC’s student health clinic from 1989 to 2016. His accusers say he abused his position of power and trust by subjecting a generation of women to both physical and verbal abuse. Tyndall is accused of forcing USC women to get completely naked in front of him, groping patients’ breasts, and regularly making inappropriate comments, some of which were described as racist and misogynistic.
The plaintiffs also claim USC was aware of Tyndall’s alleged misconduct but continued to keep him on staff for years. Tyndall was placed on leave in 2016 and retired with a financial settlement the following year. He was arrested on dozens of sexual abuse charges in June 2019, and surrendered his medical license less than two months later after he was released on bond.
According to the AP, Tyndall is now facing 35 criminal counts of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred between 2009 and 2016. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.