Ex-USC Gynecologist Arrested in Los Angeles on Sexual Assault Charges

By Alex Dobuzinskis

June 27, 2019

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles police arrested a former University of Southern California gynecologist on Wednesday on charges of sexually assaulting 16 patients, authorities said, in a case that has already resulted in a $215 million civil settlement.

George Tyndall, 72, was charged in Los Angeles Superior Court with 18 criminal counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud, the L.A. District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

The 16 patients ranged in age from 17 to 29 and were sexually assaulted by Tyndall at the downtown Los Angeles university's student health center between 2009 and 2016, prosecutors said.

The case generated widespread faculty and student outrage after allegations against Tyndall surfaced in media reports last year.

"There's been a lot of character assassination of the doctor in this case and we're really looking forward to exonerating him," attorney Andrew Flier, who represents Tyndall, said by phone.

"He's always proclaimed his innocence from day one," Flier added.

Tyndall faces a maximum sentence of 53 years in prison if convicted of all the charges.

He resigned from the private university in 2017, after an internal investigation by USC that began after a health worker in 2016 accused him of making sexually inappropriate comments to patients.

Authorities suspended Tyndall's medical license last year.

A criminal investigation by Los Angeles authorities is still underway, prosecutors said, even as a civil case wraps up in federal court.

Hundreds of women have accused Tyndall of subjecting them to molestation, lewd comments and other sexually inappropriate behavior during medical exams.

Not all those allegations resulted in criminal charges. Prosecutors said the LAPD presented them with 134 crime reports before they filed formal charges.

CIVIL SETTLEMENT

A federal court on June 13 granted preliminary approval to a $215 million settlement in the class-action civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Tyndall's former patients.

USC will pay any woman treated by Tyndall at the student health center at least $2,500, and former patients who describe harm they suffered will be eligible for up to $250,000, the university said on its website.

Some of the allegations against Tyndall date back about 30 years. USC has acknowledged failing to properly act on several complaints that were made against Tyndall between 2000 and 2014.

Tyndall's former patients accused USC of complicity and negligence in its duty to protect students.

Criticism of USC's handling of the matter led to the university's then-President C.L. Max Nikias to resign last year.

The USC case comes on the heels of a scandal that roiled USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor who also was on the MSU staff, was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in two different trials last year after more than 350 women testified about abuse at his hands.

In January, the school’s then-president John Engler, a former Michigan governor, resigned following criticism of how he handled fallout from the scandal.

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