A doctor who treated thousands of patients at the University of Southern California is being investigated by police following dozens of sexual misconduct allegations. Fifty-two patients of former USC gynecologist George Tyndall have filed complaints against him on the basis of sexual abuse and misconduct, CNN reported.
During Tyndall's nearly three-decade career, the Los Angeles Police Department estimates that he may have seen more than 10,000 students at the USC clinic. Around 300 of these former patients contacted a USC hotline dedicated to concerns about Tyndall's behavior, and 52 have specifically alleged that Tyndall's behavior was inappropriate and possibly criminal.
Several of Tyndall's patients are also suing him on the basis of sexual misconduct and racist language, CNN reported. Tyndall has denied these allegations, telling the Los Angeles Times in a letter that patients had misinterpreted his comments and that he "never had any sexual urges" toward his patients.
According to NBC News, a 2016 complaint against Tyndall spurred USC to begin termination proceedings against him. Ultimately, however, USC permitted Tyndall to resign in exchange for a settlement after he threatened to sue the school.
Earlier this month, an LA Times investigation into Tyndall embroiled USC in scandal, with many former students coming forward to express concern about Tyndall's behavior and at least a dozen of his former patients filing lawsuits. This investigation also revealed that USC reportedly permitted Tyndall to treat students for years after complaints were first lodged against him. In a statement following the LA Times exposé, USC said it investigated Tyndall in 2013, but its Office of Equity and Diversity "concluded that there was insufficient evidence to find a violation of university policy."
The university also argued that it did not have an obligation to report Tyndall's behavior, but suggested that in retrospect the university could have filed a consumer complaint following Tyndall's departure. "USC is re-evaluating its processes and under what circumstances it will file a consumer complaint on employed physicians in the future," the statement read.
The LAPD has just started to reach out to the 52 women, 13 of whom reportedly contacted the department directly. Tyndall's conduct is also under investigation by the Medical Board of California, according to the LAPD.
The allegations against Tyndall were the latest in a series of scandals during C.L. Max Nikias' tenure as USC president — and for many students, alumni, and faculty members, they were the last straw. Last week, Nikias agreed to step down from his post after a letter to the university's board of trustees received 500 signatures. The letter, which was signed by 200 high-ranking professors, argued that Nikias did not have the “moral authority to lead," and that he had failed to protect students and staff members from “repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct.”
Nikias admitted some failure on his part when it came to the Tyndall situation. "In hindsight, we should have made this report eight months earlier when he separated from the university," he said.
NBC News reported that USC was allegedly warned about Tyndall's behavior before it hired him to work at the clinic on a full-time basis. According to a complaint filed on Tuesday, Tyndall allegedly touched a woman inappropriately during a clinical trial when he was a medical resident at the USC Medical Center in 1988. He allegedly asked her to strip completely naked before penetrating her with ungloved fingers — which mirrored similar allegations made against Tyndall over the following decades — and fondling her genitals.
The woman reportedly complained to the medical center when the incident took place; according to the lawsuit filed this week, she had written a letter to the medical center saying that she "left feeling as though I had been molested and mistreated during my exams." USC hired Tyndall in 1989 — the following year — to work at the campus health center, where he worked until last year.