The University of Southern California says it has reached a tentative class action settlement agreement worth $215 million over allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by a gynecologist who used to work at its student health center.
Approximately 500 current and former students have accused gynecologist George Tyndall of misconduct, according to The Associated Press.
The settlement requires court approval before it is final. USC says anyone who received treatment from Tyndall for women’s health issues is eligible to receive compensation of $2,500. They aren’t required to provide additional information about their interaction with Tyndall to receive those funds.
Other former patients can seek additional money up to $250,000 by detailing their experience with Tyndall.
The school’s board of trustees said in May that then-USC President C.L. Max Nikias would step down, as the Tyndall scandal was unfolding. The interim president, Wanda Austin, said in a statement that the settlement is intended to provide relief to those impacted by Tyndall’s actions.
“By doing so, we hope that we can help our community move collectively toward reconciliation,” said Austin. “I regret that any student ever felt uncomfortable, unsafe, or mistreated in any way as a result of the actions of a university employee.”
As NPR’s Camila Domonoske reported, Tyndall and USC reached a deal in 2017 that resulted in his departure from the school. Before that, he was “placed on leave after a 2016 investigation found he made racially discriminatory and sexually inappropriate remarks to patients.”
Lawsuits at the state and federal levels have been filed by women alleging abuse by Tyndall. Here’s more from Domonoske:
“The lawsuits are blistering. They go into graphic detail about Tyndall’s alleged practices, such as fully nude exams that were not medically necessary and digital penetration that did not resemble a routine gynecological exam. In one case, a woman alleges that Tyndall placed his entire ungloved hand inside her vagina.”
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SOURCE: NPR, Merrit Kennedy