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Scores more former patients sue USC over gynecologist's alleged sexual misconduct

Scores more former patients sue USC over gynecologist's alleged sexual misconduct
The Engemann Student Health Center on the USC campus in Los Angeles. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

An additional 95 women sued USC this week, saying longtime campus gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall had sexually assaulted them and that the university had failed to protect them despite complaints.

The claims of 93 of the women were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, bringing the number of patients suing USC to more than 400. Represented in two lawsuits, they allege that USC deliberately concealed abuse by Tyndall for decades.

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Andy Rubenstein, whose Texas firm D. Miller & Associates is representing hundreds of Tyndall’s former patients, said in a statement that “the survivors we represent are furious, and rightfully so. They are not going away.

“Generations of Trojan women have had to endure the same emotional pain and scars because USC did nothing,” Rubenstein said. “Since this story broke nearly six months ago, there has been no significant effort by USC to come clean or enact substantive change in the way it handles allegations of sexual assaults against its staff.”

USC has indicated that it wants to resolve the cases as a group. Chairman Rick Caruso of the university’s board of trustees recently told The Times that he wanted to see the cases settled “as quickly as possible.”

Allegations of misconduct by Tyndall were brought to light by a Times investigation published in May.

The Times reported that an internal USC investigation had concluded that Tyndall’s behavior during pelvic exams was outside the scope of current medical practice and amounted to sexual harassment of patients. But in a secret deal last summer, top administrators allowed Tyndall to resign quietly with a financial payout.

The university did not inform Tyndall’s patients. Nor did USC report him at the time to the Medical Board of California, the agency responsible for protecting the public from problem doctors.

In previous interviews with The Times, Tyndall denied any wrongdoing and said his exams aligned with medical standards. He said he engaged in frank dialogue to counsel patients that were mostly in their late teens and early 20s.

In a news conference near the USC campus on Thursday, more than 20 former patients asked California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to launch an independent investigation of the university administration.

In another lawsuit filed this week in federal court, two former patients also alleged Tyndall performed inappropriate pelvic exams and made lewd remarks.

Serena Anis alleged that Tyndall did not use gloves during "two to three" of her exams between 2009 and 2013, according to the lawsuit.

Katherine Sloat, who said she saw Tyndall twice between 2010 and 2014, claimed in the suit that the gynecologist asked her for "graphic details of her sex life" and also performed vaginal exams without using gloves.

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