USC will pay more than $1.1 billion to women who say they were sexually abused by campus gynecologist George Tyndall in what is believed to be one of the largest settlement payouts in higher education history.
A group of about 700 women filed a lawsuit against the university alleging they had been abused by 74-year-old Tyndall, who lost his medical license and was arrested after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault. According to the Los Angeles Times, the group of women settled their claims for $852 million. In a previous settlement from 2018, USC agreed to pay thousands of other women $215 million. Another group of about 50 other cases was settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who’s representing 72 of the more than 700 women suing USC, called Thursday’s agreement “the largest sexual abuse settlement against a university in US history.”
In 2018, the Los Angeles Times first broke the story about Tyndall’s sexual abuse, which spanned nearly two decades despite years of complaints from his students and colleagues dating back to the 1990s. Students also spoke to BuzzFeed News in 2018 about their experiences.
A woman named Panthea was a 26-year-old graduate student when she made an appointment to see Tyndall at the student health center in 2013 for an annual exam. Panthea told BuzzFeed News the former gynecologist fingered her and told her how lucky she was to have “tight pelvic floor muscles.”
“He said, ‘That’s a good thing and I should try and keep it tight for my partner,’” Panthea said. “It felt wrong. It was wrong, but in the moment you don’t know. He just took the reins and did his own thing.”
Tyndall was arrested in June 2019 on suspicion of committing more than two dozen felonies and is still awaiting trial. If convicted, Tyndall could face up to 53 years in prison.