Sexual harassment and assault

US gynaecologist George Tyndall, accused of preying on Asian students, agrees to suspension of medical license

Dr George Tyndall, who was the University of Southern California’s resident gynaecologist, is accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of students

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 9:09am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 9:09am

Dr George Tyndall, the University of Southern California gynaecologist accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of students and targeting young Asian women, has given up his medical licence temporarily as he confronts a police investigation and a barrage of lawsuits.

The physician reached an agreement this week with the Medical Board of California that prohibits him from practising medicine until the board makes a final decision on the status of his license.

State investigators for the board have been examining Tyndall’s treatment of young women at USC’s student health clinic since May when the Los Angeles Times revealed the physician’s troubled tenure at the university. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The medical board informed Tyndall, 71, this month that it planned to seek the suspension of his license, according to a board filing Monday. Tyndall decided to forgo a hearing and accept the suspension, according to the filing.

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The physician, who treated tens of thousands of women over three decades at USC, has said he never mistreated a patient and that his exams were medically legitimate.

The lawyer representing him before the medical board, Peter Osinoff, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Under the interim suspension, Tyndall cannot see patients, hold himself out as a doctor or prescribe medicine. He is also required to surrender to the board his wall certificates and his prescription pad.

Tyndall is not known to have practised medicine since leaving USC last year. His criminal defence lawyer told the Times last month that the gynaecologist did not plan to resume his medical career while under investigation.

“He is devoting all his time to defending himself against all of the accusations against him,” lawyer Leonard Levine said.

The Los Angeles Police Department has mounted an investigation of Tyndall with a team of more than a dozen elite detectives travelling the country to interview former patients.

The LAPD is working with the lead sex crimes prosecutor at the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office and recently turned over close to 30 cases for possible prosecution.

More than 340 women have filed civil suits against Tyndall and USC alleging the doctor sexually abused them and the university failed to protect them. USC has signalled that it wants to settle the suits quickly and as a group.

Tyndall was the sole gynaecologist at the campus clinic for 27 years. For much of that time, there were complaints from patients and clinic colleagues about “creepy” conduct. He was accused of taking improper photos of unclothed students, touching them inappropriately during pelvic exams and making lewd comments about their bodies and sex lives.

Tyndall has been accused of particularly targeting Asian students, and in May the Chinese government issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about USC’s handling of his case.

USC allowed Tyndall to continue to practice until 2016 when a nurse reported him to the rape crisis centre. A university investigation concluded that Tyndall’s pelvic exams and suggestive remarks constituted sexual harassment. Administrators allowed him to resign last year with a financial payout.

They did not report him to the medical board until earlier this year, after the Times had started approaching current and former employees about Tyndall. USC has said that “in hindsight” they should have reported him earlier.

The university’s response created outrage among faculty and students, and earlier this month USC President C.L. Max Nikias resigned. A search for his replacement is underway.