The University of Southern California (USC) has agreed to pay $215 million and implement numerous reforms to settle a class action lawsuit brought by dozens of women who allege they were sexually abused by a gynecologist at the USC Student Health Center over the course of nearly three decades.
A court will need to approve the settlement, which also requires USC to obtain background checks for anyone who interacts with patients at the school’s student health center, and give female patients the option to see a female doctor. An independent women’s health advocate will also be appointed to ensure any complaints are properly and thoroughly investigated. The agreement also requires the university to provide mandatory training to students to help prevent inappropriate sexual behavior.
In 2017, former USC Student Health Center gynecologist George Tyndall was fired for inappropriate sexual behavior. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office says it has received 99 crime reports that accuse Tyndall of acts such as inappropriate touching, unnecessarily penetrating women with his hands, making lewd comments, photographing female patients, and other acts of sexual harassment.
Under the settlement, female students who were patients of Tyndall from Aug. 14, 1989, to June 21, 2016, would be eligible for amounts ranging from $2,500 to $250,000. As many as 17,000 women could qualify for this class action settlement, a USC attorney told CNN.
USC interim President Wanda M. Austin said in a statement, “Providing a fair and respectful resolution to as many former, impacted patients as possible, and making impactful changes that strengthen our university continues to be our top priorities.”