USC to pay sexual abuse victims $852 million payout in lawsuit
With sexual abuse allegations dating back to the 90s, USC is finally paying the price for Dr. George Tyndall's reported abuse of female students
LOS ANGELES, Cali. (KLKN)- The University of Southern California has agreed to settle a $852 million lawsuit with the over 700 women who have accused the college’s campus gynecologist of sexual abuse, according to an announcement from the victims’ lawyers.
(Editor’s note: This story includes a discussion of sexual assault. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.)
Officials think this is a record amount for this type of lawsuit. When you combine this settlement’s amount with a previous settlement of a separate class-action suit, USC agreed to pay out over $1 billion for claims against Dr. George Tyndall, who was employed by the school for almost thirty years.
Tyndall, 74, is looking at 35 criminal counts of alleged sexual misconduct between the years of 2009-2016 at USC’s health center. He pled not guilty and currently free on bond.
Hundreds of women reported Tyndall’s behavior to police but some of the cases were outside of the 10-year statute of limitations and others lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute or didn’t rise to the level of criminal charges.
He faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community,” USC President Carol L. Folt said in a statement. “We appreciate the courage of all who came forward and hope this much-needed resolution provides some relief to the women abused by George Tyndall.”
The allegations against him first surfaced in 2018 during an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, where it was revealed that he had been sexually assaulting the students at USC all the way back to the 1990s.
But Tyndall wasn’t suspended until 2016 after a nurse reported him to a rape crisis center, where he was able to quietly resign with a large payout the next year. He didn’t surrender his medical license until September 2019, according to records.
According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, this is the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university, as well as being the biggest personal injury settlement against any college or university.
When Tyndall was deposed for the settlement he invoked his rights against self-incrimination for most of his answers, the plaintiff’s lawyers said. And even though he did sign the settlement, he didn’t contribute any money toward it and didn’t admit to any wrongdoing.
“Dr. Tyndall continues to deny that he has engaged in any misconduct,” said Leonard Levine, Tyndall’s attorney. “He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and remains confident that when the allegations are tested in court in a jury trial, he will be totally exonerated.”