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Sexual harassment and assault

Los Angeles police receive 300 tips as they look into university gynaecologist accused of abuse

Police are collecting evidence against George Tyndall, accused of preying on Chinese students and others, but have yet to open an official criminal investigation

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 3:09pm

The Los Angeles Police Department said Wednesday it was looking into sexual abuse accusations made against a gynaecologist at a top California university who treated students for decades.

Spokesperson Rosario Herrera said the department was “aware of the allegations” against George Tyndall, a former doctor at the University of Southern California, but added a criminal investigation had not been officially opened.

“We’ve set up a protocol where people can make reports,” Herrera said.

Tyndall worked in the medical centre at USC, which is now “working with the LAPD and referring reports to them if appropriate and with patient consent,” according to spokesperson Eddie North-Hager.

“As of last night we had received around 300 reports via our hotline and website,” North-Hager said, adding the hundreds of reports came from both graduates and current students.

Six students filed lawsuits this week against Tyndall over the alleged abuse, and the university for its inaction.

One of the women alleges Tyndall put his entire hand inside her during an examination in 2003 and made vulgar comments about her genitalia.

Another detailed how Tyndall, now 71, groped her breasts and leered at her on what was her first appointment with a gynecologist in 2008.

Meanwhile, a Filipina graduate student told reporters Tyndall performed a genital exam on her in 2016 without wearing gloves and made inappropriate comments about her ethnicity.

Tyndall allegedly often targeted minority students – including many from the university’s large Chinese student population – who were not fluent in English or unfamiliar with gynaecological exams. He has also been accused of taking inappropriate photographs of patients’ genitalia.

The lawsuits also claim that the school only launched a probe in 2016 after a supervising nurse upset at USC’s inaction reported him to the campus rape crisis centre. He was then allowed to “quietly” resign in June of last year, despite allegations against him dating back to the 1990s.

Tyndall told The Los Angeles Times – which first reported the case – that his gynaecological exams were justified.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, 200 professors who called for the resignation of university president C.L. Max Nikias met to consider their next steps, after the institution’s board – which includes director Steven Spielberg – rejected their demand.