California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill into law Wednesday that will allow those who say they were sexually assaulted by former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall more time to seek damages against him.
State Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D) introduced the bill, AB 1510, last month in response to the nearly 400 women who have accused Tyndall of sexually assaulting them as his patients at USC’s campus clinic.
In July, Tyndall, 72, pleaded not guilty to charges of molesting 16 patients at the clinic where he worked for 27 years until he quietly resigned in 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Despite the hundreds of women that have come forward, many of them were unable to sue Tyndall for damages from the alleged assault because they had missed the deadline to file a civil lawsuit.
California’s statute of limitations requires victims of sexual assault to take civil action within 10 years from the date of the act, or within three years from the date the victim discovers they were assaulted.
Some of the accusations against Tyndall date to the 1990s, the Times reported. The allegations include inappropriate photos and medically unnecessary groping and touching.
“We know from extensive media accounts and testimony in legislative committees that many survivors of Dr. Tyndall were ignored when they initially raised concerns about what they had experienced,” Reyes said when AB 1510 passed the state Legislature.
“Survivors of sexual assault should never have their rights diminished or be denied their day in court because of delays and cover-ups by the very institutions that enabled the sexual assault to occur,” Reyes added.
The new law gives Tyndall’s accusers a one-year window to file civil actions against the former gynecologist.
The law applies only to claims of damages of more than $250,000 that stem from sexual assault or harassment by a “physician occurring at a student health center between Jan. 1, 1988, and Jan. 1, 2017,” according to the bill.
Tyndall, who has surrendered his medical license, has pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual battery in Los Angeles County.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly noted that the law applies to claims as far back as 1998. The law covers cases between Jan. 1, 1988 and Jan. 1, 2017.