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Doctor or Predator? Women at One College Seek Justice

In the past year, over 380 women have filed sexual abuse allegations against Dr. George Tyndall, the longtime gynecologist for the University of Southern California.

As of last week, Tyndall has only been charged with sexually assaulting 16 women at the student health center. The women were aged 17-29 and claim they were abused during visits to the student health center for annual exams or other check-ups. The university has offered to pay up to $215 million to settle the rest of the claims, yet most of the women are happy that something is finally being done. The first allegations came to light in May 2018, over a year ago. Tyndall, who worked at the college for three decades, is facing 29 felony charges: 18  counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud. The gynecologist led his patients to believe that all actions were performed for a professional purpose. These charges could put him in prison for up to 53 years.

You might be wondering why the allegations of over 380 women are not being fully addressed in court. Because of Tyndall’s long tenure at the school, many of the cases have fallen outside of the 10-year statute of limitations, while others weren’t up to par with criminal charges, and others lacked sufficient evidence for a case.

Police found pictures of women in compromising positions that could possibly have been taken during exams, as well as a thousand homemade sex tapes in Tyndall’s home. Tyndall was arrested with a revolver in his possession but has not been determined a danger to himself or anyone else. He has denied any wrongdoing. Tyndall’s lawyers are eager to represent him in court. “We are very much looking forward to adjudicating this case in a courtroom because of this character assassination,” lawyer Flier said. “We’re going to be able to punch some serious holes in all these allegations.”

Despite this aggressive stance, victims are relieved. “I broke down at work today in tears of happiness that Tyndall is behind bars,” Daniella Mohazab, one of the students pressing charges, said. “I cannot explain how scared I felt walking around with the thought that I could run into Tyndall at any moment, in a grocery store, coffee shop or park.”

In all, more than 700 women have filed individual civil lawsuits against Tyndall and the university. The school has agreed to a settlement with former patients of Tyndall, creating a fund for those abused. Up to 17,000 students and alumnae are eligible for this fund.

Fortunately, Tyndall’s medical license has been suspended since 2018 and he is not allowed to practice medicine. University President Wanda M. Austin hopes that this arrest and the university’s continuing cooperation with police will help create a more welcoming environment for students. “We care deeply about our community and our top priority continues to be the well-being of our students, health center patients and university community. We hope this arrest will be a healing step,” she said.

Featured Image by Keith Parker on Flickr.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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