The University of Southern California (USC) announced Thursday it would pay more than $1.1 billion to hundreds of victims who were allegedly preyed upon by a campus gynecologist, setting a record for money paid out in a collegiate sex abuse case.
University officials called the payout, which came from three sets of settlements, “the end of a painful and ugly chapter in the history of our university,” the New York Times reported. One $215 million settlement was reached in 2018, the second group of several dozen cases was later settled for an undisclosed amount, and finally, USC announced on Thursday it had reached the third settlement for $852 million.
“The behavior that was discovered shocks the conscience of the University to its core,” USC Board of Trustees Chair Rick J. Caruso said in a statement. “Our institution fell short by not doing everything it could to protect those who matter to us most – our students, and I am sorry for the pain this caused the very people we were obligated to protect.” (RELATED: ‘Racism And Hate Speech Will Not Be Tolerated’: USC Revokes Season Tickets Of Football Booster Who Published ‘Racist Tweets’)
Dr. Tyndall is accused of a variety of inappropriate and abusive behaviors including making overtly sexual comments towards his patients and physically abusing them. Some women accused Tyndall of showing them photographs of other women’s genitals during appointments, according to the New York Times report.
The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for their 2018 report revealing that Dr. Tyndall had been abusing students for years.
USC failed to suspend Tyndall from his job until 2016, even though allegations of misconduct were brought to the attention of the university in the 1990s. The university also did not immediately report him to the state medical board, according to the report. The scandal forced the resignation of then-USC president C.L. Max Nikias.
Tyndall was arrested outside of his Los Angeles apartment in 2019 and charged with 29 counts of sexual assault involving 16 women. He has pleaded guilty to a total of 35 counts of criminal sexual misconduct and continues to deny any wrongdoing. He is currently free on bond.
Ja’Mesha Morgan, who was one of the plaintiffs in the settlement announced Thursday, told the New York Times the settlement was a “bittersweet victory.” (RELATED: Prosecutors Release Fake Rowing Resume Of Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Amid College Admissions Scandal)
“On one hand, it really exemplifies the gravity of what Tyndall’s survivors had to experience, and really set in tone our truth as to what occurred,” said Morgan, a 27-year-old lawyer who was allegedly abused by Dr. Tyndall in 2016 when she was a law student. “But it’s also a really grueling reminder of the price tag USC was willing to put on our safety and our mental health.”
The most recent $852 million settlement will be distributed among the plaintiffs in amounts ranging from $250,000 to several million dollars, said John C. Manly, a lawyer who represented the third group of alleged victims. “The reason USC paid this money was that there was culpability — they knew early on, in the early ’90s and all the way through his tenure that this was happening,” Manly told the New York Times.
When reached for comment, USC referred the Daily Caller to letters that were sent to the community from the university president and board chair.