The University of Southern California is facing two class action lawsuits filed by former students who are accusing USC of failing to protect them from alleged abuse by former campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall. According to a KABC news report, these are the first class actions to be filed in California state court on behalf of thousands of female students who were allegedly sexually abused and illegally photographed by Tyndall.
Inappropriate and Abusive Behavior
The lawsuits allege that gynecologist conducted improper pelvic exams that involving inappropriate probing, at times without gloves. Victims also allege the doctor made sexually-charged remarks and illicitly photographed their genital area. The lawsuits state the university got repeated complaints from students and colleagues, but did not take the appropriate steps to look into those complaints.
An investigation by a company that USC hired in 2016 found that Tyndall exhibited “unprofessional and inappropriate” conduct and that the pelvic exams were outside current and acceptable standards of care. Attorneys say USC agreed to enter a “no finding” conclusion related to the investigation, allowed Tyndall to resign without consequence and provided him severance pay in spite of what they found. The lawsuits allege that many of the women targeted by Tyndall were of Chinese or other Asian descent.
Movements and Class Action Lawsuits
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have led to class action lawsuits not just in California, but around the country. Women are banding together not just to get their day in court and speak up against sexual harassment, sexual abuse and pay inequities, but to also hold the corporations and institutions that allowed these abuses and unjust practices to take place. There is no question that educational institutions have the responsibility and the legal obligation to protect its students.
In this particular case, many female students have come forward and alleged that this gynecologist behaved inappropriately and frequently sexually abused female, particularly Asian, students. If the university did know about these incidents, but chose to ignore, those in power should be held responsible for their negligence in this matter. As California class action lawyers we hope these women do get their day in court, that the facts come out and justice is served.