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Going to the gynecologist is not on every woman's top 10 list of favorite things to do. Although you probably trust your doctor, you're often in a vulnerable position and you'd like to get things over with as quickly as possible. But imagine adding sexual assault to that scenario. Over 50 women are accusing a USC gynecologist of sexual assault during their exams. And that number could grow significantly as police investigate his decades-long career and the university that seems to have ignored numerous complaints of inappropriate and abusive exams.
Violating Women From a Position of Power and Trust
Dr. George Tyndall, now 71, allegedly abused patients over a 26-year period according to the LAPD. So far, at least 52 women have filed complaints against the USC gynecologist, and police are asking other patients to come forward as they continue their investigation. In addition to the criminal investigation, there are also civil lawsuits pending against Tyndall and USC.
The sexual abuse includes allegations that Tyndall groped patients' breasts, digitally penetrated their vaginas, and spread the anal crevice so he could leer at them. This is in addition to inappropriate and lewd comments he allegedly made about patients' bodies and sex lives.
According to one lawsuit, his actions had "no legitimate medical purpose" and were "for no other reason than to satisfy his own prurient sexual desires." As one patient who is now a nurse practitioner explained, "Tyndall used his position as a doctor and his knowledge of what could be considered normal in an exam to exploit women. What happened in my case...was not normal and was not acceptable."
University Failed to Take Action
Lawsuits against USC claim the university failed to take action regarding Tyndall despite numerous complaints by patients and clinic staff spanning more than two decades, according to the LA Times. Victims claim the university knew about the doctor's behavior, deliberately concealed it, and continued to allow him to have "unfettered sexual access to the young female USC students in his care." Apparently, it wasn't until a nurse reported Tyndall to the campus rape crisis center in 2016 that the gynecologist was removed. And even then, he was allowed to resign quietly with a financial payout.
The case sounds remarkably similar to that of Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University doctor who abused hundreds of girls. MSU has also faced well-deserved criticism regarding its failure to heed complaints of Nassar's behavior, and recently agreed to pay $500 million to 332 of Nassar's victims.
No one deserves to be sexually abused. If you're the victim of sexual assault, you can contact RAINN, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims. They also have a free, confidential hotline: 800.656.HOPE. You can also contact a personal injury attorney to begin the process of holding your abuser accountable.