LOS ANGELES (AP) — The University of Southern California on Friday announced an agreement in principle for a $215 million class-action settlement of claims involving alleged sexual harassment and abuse by a gynecologist who treated students for decades.
The agreement with plaintiffs’ lawyers will provide compensation ranging from $2,500 up to $250,000 to the women who have claimed abuse by Dr. George Tyndall between 1988 and 2016, USC Interim President Wanda Austin said in a statement.
About 500 current and former students have now made accusations against Tyndall. They contend he routinely made crude comments, took inappropriate photographs, forced them to strip naked and groped them under the guise of medical treatment.
Tyndall spent about three decades as a USC staff gynecologist before retiring last year after a USC investigation concluded that there was evidence that Tyndall sexually harassed students during physical examinations.
Tyndall has denied the allegations and has not been charged with a crime. USC has denied accusations of a cover-up.
The university was first criticized in the case after the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year that complaints and comments about Tyndall’s care went unheeded by the school for decades and that USC failed to report him to the medical board even after the school quietly forced him into retirement last year.
Two administrators were fired and President C.L. Max Nikias stepped down following the criticism.
The Los Angeles police and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office are reviewing allegations against Tyndall.
Austin said in a statement that since she became interim president, “a fair and respectful resolution for as many former patients as possible has been?a priority for the university and for me personally.”
“Many sweeping changes have been made and we continue to?work every day to prevent all forms of misconduct on our campuses, to provide outstanding care to all students, and to ensure we have policies and procedures that prioritize respect for our students and our entire university community,” she said.