The University of Southern California has agreed to pay more than $1.1 billon in settlements to former patients of George Tyndall, an ex-campus gynecologist who has been accused of sexually assaulting a “generation of young USC women.”
The university said Thursday that it hoped the settlements — reportedly the largest sex abuse payout in collegiate history — would mark “the end of a painful and ugly chapter in the history” of the school.
The enormous payout is a combination of a $852 million settlement approved Thursday by the Los Angeles Superior Court; a $215 million federal class-action settlement from 2018; and a third settlement whose terms have not been made public.
Thursday’s settlement will be divided among 710 women who said Tyndall abused them. The Los Angeles Times said an arbitrator will determine the exact amount each plaintiff stands to receive in the coming months.
Tyndall was arrested in 2019 and charged with 29 counts of sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial.
USC President Carol Folt said in a letter to the school community that she was “deeply sorry for the pain experienced by the women” who’d trusted Tyndall as a physician and lauded “the courage of all who came forward.”
She said she hoped the settlements would provide them “some relief.”
Tyndall served for decades as the sole full-time gynecologist at the campus health clinic. Hundreds of former USC students have accused him of sexual abuse and harassment, including performing unnecessary pelvic exams and taking photographs of patients’ genitals.
USC officials have come under scrutiny for their failure to respond to complaints about Tyndall.
According to the Los Angeles Times, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its 2018 exposé about the abuse allegations, USC first became aware of the claims in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2016 that the school suspended Tyndall from his job.
John Manly, an attorney for the women who sued USC, said his team had proven in court that USC “knew for the better part of 30 years that Tyndall was assaulting patients.”
“Institutions don’t pay out a billion dollars because nothing happened or they’re not responsible,” Manly said, the LA Times reported.
Following Thursday’s announcement of the settlement, some of Tyndall’s former patients decried the fact that no USC official has been charged with a crime.
“Today’s settlement, while important, actually brings me quite a bit of sadness,” Lucy Chi, who said Tyndall abused her during a 2014 physical exam, told reporters.
“USC allowed thousands of women to be abused by the gynecologist and when they found out, they covered it up, they aided and abetted all of those sexual assaults and no one in the administration, in leadership at USC has been held accountable,” she added.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.