The University of Southern California (USC) has agreed to a $ 852 million settlement with more than 700 women accused of sexually assaulting the gynecologist on the university campus.
The victims’ lawyers and the USC announced the settlement on Thursday. In conjunction with an earlier settlement of a separate class action suit, the school has agreed to pay out more than $ 1 billion for claims against Dr. George Tyndall.
Tyndall, 74, is facing 35 criminal counts of alleged sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2016 at the university’s student health center. He has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.
Hundreds of women came forward to report their charges to the police, but some cases fell outside the 10-year statute of limitations, while others did not reach the level of criminal charges or had insufficient evidence to prosecute. Still, Tyndall will face 64 years in prison if convicted.
“I am very sorry for the pain these esteemed members of the USC community are experiencing,” USC president Carol L Folt said in a statement. “We appreciate the courage of everyone who came forward and hope this much-needed resolution will provide some relief to the women who have been abused by George Tyndall.”
Folt took office in 2019 as part of a review of USC leadership amid the unfolding gynecologist and college entrance bribery scandals.
According to prosecutors’ attorneys, the $ 852 million civil settlement is the largest sexual abuse settlement against a university, as well as the largest personal injury settlement against a college or university. The lawyers say no confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements were attached.
Tyndall was impeached for the settlement, relying largely on his rights against self-incrimination in his responses, the prosecution’s attorneys said. While he signed the settlement, he contributed no money to it or admitted any violations.
“Dr. Tyndall continues to deny that he has been guilty of any wrongdoing,” said Leonard Levine, Tyndall’s attorney. “He pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and remains confident that if the charges are tested in court in a jury trial, he will be fully acquitted.”
In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $ 500 million to settle claims from more than 300 women and girls who said they had been assaulted by sports physician Larry Nassar. That settlement was considered the largest at the time, far exceeding the $ 100 million that Penn State University paid to settle claims from at least 35 people who accused assistant soccer coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual assault.
Separately, USC previously agreed to pay $ 215 million to settle a class action lawsuit that applies to approximately 18,000 women who were patients of Tyndall’s. Individual payouts to those victims range from $ 2,500 to $ 250,000 and were given regardless of whether the women formally charged Tyndall with harassment or assault. The final payouts are expected this month.
Allegations against Tyndall first surfaced in a 2018 investigation by the Los Angeles Times, which found that the doctor had been the subject of complaints of sexual misconduct at USC dating back to the 1990s.
He was only suspended in 2016, when a nurse turned him in at a rape crisis center. He was able to quietly resign the following year with a large payout.
Tyndall surrendered his medical license in September 2019, data shows.