Former campus gynecologist arrested, charged with 29 felony counts

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Former campus gynecologist George Tyndall, who has been accused of sexual assault by over 650 patients, was arrested Wednesday and charged with 29 felony accounts regarding his interactions with 16 former patients. 

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the arrest and declined to comment further. LAPD confirmed that Tyndall has not yet been booked.

According to the complaint obtained by the Daily Trojan, Tyndall faces 18 counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person. The document, signed by sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, also shows that Tyndall faces 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud for inappropriately touching patients for “sexual arousal” under the guise of a “professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.”

In a statement to the Daily Trojan, Leonard Levine and Andrew Flier, attorneys representing Tyndall, wrote they are confident in the trial process.

“After a year of being tried in the press, Dr. Tyndall looks forward to having his case adjudicated in a court of law where the truth will finally prevail,” the statement read. “He remains adamant he will then be totally exonerated.”

LAPD detectives have been investigating the case against Tyndall — the largest alleged sex-crimes case in LAPD history — since the Los Angeles Times first reported on the sexual abuse and assault allegations in May 2018. 

“We, and many victims of Dr. Tyndall, are extremely happy that justice has finally begun in the criminal system,” said attorney Gloria Allred, who represents two of the accusers in the criminal case. “We do represent at least two of the accusers in the criminal case for whom charges have been filed. We will not be disclosing their names at this time.”

“We do wish to state, however, that we are very proud of the courage that they have demonstrated in speaking to law enforcement about their allegations,” she added.

According to the Times, prosecutors will ask the judge to set bail at over $2 million. The Daily Trojan could not confirm this statement.

USC alumna Dana Loewy, who was a patient of Tyndall in the 1990s, said she is relieved that some of the women sexually abused by the former gynecologist were able to file criminal charges.

“We’ve been calling for accountability for a long time,” Loewy said. “It’s taken a year. A case of these proportions is massive, naturally takes a long time. I hope that Tyndall is convicted and will be put away, will go to prison.”

As the Tyndall case moves forward, the University said it will continue to prioritize the USC community.

“USC is awaiting further details on George Tyndall’s arrest,” Interim President Wanda Austin wrote in a statement. “We have cooperated with the LAPD and District Attorney’s Office investigations since the beginning and will continue to do so. We care deeply about our community and our top priority continues to be the well-being of our students, health center patients and University community.  We hope this arrest will be a healing step for former patients and our entire University.”

The Times reported Tyndall was accused of inappropriately touching patients and making improper and invasive comments about their bodies. While investigating the case last December, LAPD officers found nude photos of women in a storage unit owned by Tyndall. 

Following the discovery, LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said most photos depicted women who were not connected to the University, though some photos depicted women in medical examination rooms. Hayes said the detectives would investigate whether the photos had any connection to the University.

In May 2019, USC made public a previously confidential 600-page report detailing decades of complaints against Tyndall. The documents, which are evidence in the federal class-action lawsuit, include letters, surveys and memos that detail complaints from current and former students regarding treatment of patients. 

The report demonstrates the University’s awareness of allegations made against Tyndall after his colleagues reached out to the University in 2016. USC hired an independent medical consulting firm to investigate the allegations, which found that Tyndall specifically targeted international Asian students because of limited language proficiency and understanding of gynecological practices. 

Attorney John Manly, who represents more than 200 alleged victims, said while many of his clients are relieved, they are also frustrated Tyndall had not been arrested earlier. Manly also expressed concern regarding district attorney Jackie Lacy’s involvement in the case. Lacy is a Gould School of Law alumna.

“Many of them distrust the DA’s office here … This should not have taken almost a year and a half,” Manly said. “I think that District Attorney Lacy’s affiliation with [USC] frankly should have disqualified her and she should not, in my opinion, be involved.”

According to the Times, Tyndall faces charges from 16 patients. Manly said that though there are already allegedly 16 charges and over 650 victims have filed suit, this number is expected to increase.

“It’s not unusual for a small number of charges to be brought in these cases … Larry Nasser had 24 charges, and there were over 350 women who came forward initially,” Manly said. “And the reason for that is the statute of limitations. But, I think [Tyndall] is going to have to face the jury and I am confident that the system will do its job.”

Since the Times investigation was first published in May 2018, over 650 current and former students have filed suit in state and federal court, seeking damages from the University for the alleged abuse. Many suits also allege the University covered up allegations made against Tyndall.

In February, USC agreed to file a $215 million class-action settlement, which outlined a series of campus-wide reforms regarding sexual misconduct complaints and would distribute tiered compensation to all of Tyndall’s former patients. Though 650 victims have come forward in court, the agreement outlined a settlement distribution for an estimated 17,000 former patients. 

A federal judge granted preliminary approval for the proposed settlement on June 12, two months after U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson denied the settlement, citing a lack of information regarding the tiered compensation and requesting further amendments be made.

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