Gynecologist charged with sex abuse at US university
A former gynecologist at a top California university was arrested and charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting 16 young women during medical examinations, officials said.
George Tyndall has been accused of abuse by hundreds of female patients during his 30-year career, in a major scandal that has engulfed the University of Southern California.
The doctor was arrested outside his apartment by Los Angeles police Wednesday and charged with multiple counts of sexual penetration and sexual battery by fraud. He could face a sentence of up to 53 years in prison if convicted, the district attorney’s office said.
Accusations against Tyndall, ranging from inappropriate touching to rape, date as far back as 1990, although the charges relate to incidents since 2009. The youngest alleged victim was aged 17.
The doctor, now 72, has been accused of taking photos of patients’ genitals, groping their breasts and making lewd remarks about their physiques, as well as racist and homophobic comments.
He allegedly often targeted minority students — including many from the university’s large Asian student population — who were not fluent in English or unfamiliar with gynecological exams.
He was not investigated by USC officials until 2016, and was allowed to retire under an amicable agreement with the university, the financial details of which have not been disclosed. The university’s president resigned last year amid pressure from two hundred professors to step down over the scandal.
Los Angeles police opened their own investigation and have since been gathering evidence to present to prosecutors for criminal charges. USC interim president Wanda Austin said Wednesday the university was cooperating with the police investigation.
“We hope this arrest will be a healing step for former patients and our entire university,” she said. Hundreds of former patients have also sued the university for failing to adequately respond to the allegations against Tyndall. Last year, USC said it had reached an “agreement in principle” to pay $215 million in compensation.
Tyndall has denied any wrongdoing, and said in a statement through his lawyer Wednesday that he “remains adamant” he will be “totally exonerated.”
“After a year of being tried in the press, Dr Tyndall looks forward to having his case adjudicated in a court of law where the truth will finally prevail,” said attorney Andrew Flier.
USC has also been rocked in recent months by a wide-ranging college admissions bribery scandal.
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