George Tyndall: $852M settlement reached in lawsuits over sexual abuse by ex-USC gynecologist
LOS ANGELES - Attorneys representing 710 women who claim they were sexually abused by former USC campus gynecologist George Tyndall announced an $852 million settlement in lawsuits against the university Thursday.
The resolution was described as the largest known settlement against any university and the largest personal injury settlement against any college or university in U.S. history.
When combined with an earlier $215 million settlement of a separate class-action suit, USC has agreed to pay out more than $1 billion for claims against Tyndall, who worked at the school for nearly 30 years.
"This historic settlement came about through the bravery of hundreds of women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced. We appreciate the diligent efforts of the survivors’ attorneys who worked with us to obtain this measure of justice and healing," survivor’s attorney John Manly said. "The enormous size of this settlement speaks to the immense harm done to our clients and the culpability of USC."
The settlement will be distributed between Tyndall's victims ranging from six-figure payouts to multimillion-dollar settlements.
Following the announcement, USC President Carol L. Folt released a statement that said, "I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community. 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."
"Our institution fell short by not doing everything it could to protect those who matter to us most – our students, and I am sorry for the pain this caused the very people we were obligated to protect," said USC Board of Trustees Chair Rick J. Caruso.
USC officials have repeatedly denied allegations of a cover-up relating to Tyndall and have said new protocols were implemented at its Student Health Center to ensure any complaints are investigated and resolved by appropriate university officials and authorities. Additionally, the university said it has hired female, board-certified physicians and introduced patient education materials about sensitive examinations.
"I want this to be clear: USC and senior administers at USC in the health center and otherwise, knew. The press materials that USC put out in 2018 that this was somehow a mystery to them, were a damn lie. And we proved that," Attorney John Manly said during a press conference announcing the settlement.
Multiple victims who spoke during Thursday afternoon's press conference criticized the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office for failing to charge any USC administrators in the case.
"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," said victim Lucy Chi.
Chi blamed the county's former District Attorney Jackie Lacey for failing to press charges, and called on the county's new DA, George Gascón, to prosecute them.
RELATED: Victim of George Tyndall blames Jackie Lacey for failing to charge USC administrators
"I am deeply concerned about the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the way this case has been handled, and not handled. Because while in Michigan, with Doctor Larry Nassar, at least six high-ranking officials have been indicted criminally for charges. No one, other than Dr. Tyndall, has been indicted for anything, and there’s plenty of criminal blame to go around here," added victim Audrey Nafziger.
Hundreds of women have come forward with allegations of abuse by Tyndall under the guise of gynecological exams during his time at the university, with some complaints dating back to the 1980s.
Tyndall was placed on leave by USC in 2016 and retired with a financial settlement in 2017.
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The various lawsuits have alleged that Tyndall used his position as a trusted and credentialed medical professional to commit a series of abusive acts toward his patients, such as forcing patients to undress completely in front of him while he watched, groping patients' breasts and making racist, misogynistic and sexually harassing comments to patients.
The lawsuits contend USC was aware of Tyndall's sexual abuse of female student patients for decades and continued to grant him unfettered sexual access to the young students in his and USC's care.
Tyndall, who has denied wrongdoing, was originally charged in June 2019 with 18 felony counts of sexual penetration and 11 felony counts of sexual battery by fraud involving 16 women dating back to 2009, with the alleged victims ranging in age from 17 to 31. He pleaded not guilty and was released from jail on bond about two months after his arrest.
Last year, Tyndall was charged with five counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person and one count of sexual battery by fraud involving five other women, with the crimes allegedly occurring between 2011 and 2105.
In January of last year, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted final approval of a $215 million class-action settlement between USC and some of the women who claimed they were sexually abused by Tyndall. The settlement provided all class members -- about 17,000 former patients who received women's health services from Tyndall -- compensation of $2,500 and up.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have filed eleven counts of sexual assault and battery against Tyndall. If convicted of all charges, Tyndall faces up to 64 years in prison.
USC's settlement in cases involving Tyndall tops the $500 million Michigan State University agreed to pay in 2018 to settle claims against sports doctor Larry Nassar.
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CNS and the Associated Press contributed to this report.