The University of Southern California has agreed a $852m settlement more than 700 women who accused the college’s long-time campus gynaecologist of sexual abuse, reports South China Morning Post. When combined with an earlier settlement of a separate class-action suit, USC has agreed to pay out more than $1bn for claims against Dr George Tyndall who worked at the school for nearly three decades.
The SCMP reports that Tyndall faces 35 criminal counts of alleged sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2016 at the university’s student health centre. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. Hundreds of women came forward to report their allegations to police but some of the cases fell outside the 10-year statute of limitations, while others did not rise to the level of criminal charges or lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute. Still, the report says, he faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted.
Confidential records show decades of warnings to USC about Tyndall. The documents, released in 2019, span the entirety of Tyndall’s career at USC, including a handwritten complaint in 1990 about a “rude” exam and a lengthy expert analysis in 2016 that posited the gynaecologist had “underlying psychopathy”.
The SCMP reports that the $852m civil settlement is believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, as well as the largest personal injury settlement against any college or university. The lawyers say no confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements were attached.