The University of Southern California agreed to settle a lawsuit with 710 women who were former patients of gynecologist George Tyndall for $852 million.
The settlement, announced Thursday, comes after USC already agreed to pay $215 million to thousands of other students and alumnae in a 2018 federal class action lawsuit and after roughly 50 other cases were settled for undisclosed amounts. That means the university has now agreed to pay more than $1.1 billion to Tyndall’s former patients, the Los Angeles Times reported, calling the total the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history.
USC will pay the new settlement out over two years. Money will come from insurance proceeds, financial reserves, deferring capital projects, selling some assets and cost containment, according to the Times. The former patients are slated to receive $1.2 million on average, with sums to be determined by an arbitrator case by case.
Tyndall was the only full-time gynecologist at the university’s student health clinic from 1989 to 2016, treating about 17,000 women. He was accused of touching students inappropriately, taking photos of students’ genitals, asking students inappropriate questions about their sex lives and making suggestive comments about students’ bodies. His medical license was taken away, he has been arrested and he has pleaded not guilty to numerous sexual assault charges.
Personnel files indicated university officials repeatedly mishandled or ignored complaints against Tyndall, the Times reported. The Tyndall case prompted the U.S. Department of Education to investigate USC. After that investigation, the university last year agreed to make sweeping changes to its procedures to manage sexual assault cases.
The newly settled case was brought in Los Angeles Superior Court. A 2019 state law temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for some sexual assault lawsuits, which allowed women who had appointments in the 1990s to sue, the Times reported.