More than 50 current and former students at the University of Southern California say a campus doctor sexually abused them during medical exams. Several lawsuits have been filed, and the allegations have forced the resignation of the school’s president.
CGTN’s May Lee spoke to one of the women who says she was abused.
For more than 30 years, gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall saw patients at the University of Southern California campus clinic. And according to multiple lawsuits filed against the school, Tyndall was sexually molesting patients with immunity for much of that time.
Many of the victims reportedly were Chinese students, targeted by Tyndall because of their unfamiliarity with western medical exams and too fearful to speak out.
Lucy Chi is part of a lawsuit against USC. She was examined by Tyndall in 2012 when she was a graduate student.
“When the story first broke, I remember looking at the headline and saying oh my God,” Chi said. “Dr. Tyndall was my doctor and then I read the article and I said, he did those things to me. He sexually abused me.”
Lucy never reported her experience with Tyndall because of fear.
“I was really afraid if I stepped out no one would believe and they would say it was my fault. But seeing all these women come forward because of the Me too and Times up movement, it gave me the courage to come and tell my story myself.”
John Manly is representing Chi and several dozen women in lawsuits against USC, which put the blame squarely on the university for turning a blind eye to the allegations of abuse, even though complaints were filed by students and clinic workers.
“What we now know is that beginning in 1988, USC was well aware from multiple, multiple complaints from multiple women – who didn’t even know each other – that he was engaging in inappropriate conduct and sexual conduct and many instances sexual crimes,” according to Manly. “They did nothing, because their reputation equals money, equals donations, equals more foreign students that pay more tuition etc.”
For Manly, this case is bit of déjà vu. He was the lead attorney in the recent $500 million settlement reached with Michigan State University, which was accused of enabling years of sexual abuse of hundreds of female athletes by campus doctor Larry Nassar.
The USC scandal has so far brought down the president, Max Nikias, who resigned last week. Nikias was a prolific fundraiser and increased the school’s ties with China.
In a statement, a member of the board of trustees said:
“We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed. We will rebuild our culture to reflect an environment in which safety and transparency are of paramount importance.”
So far, there are more than a dozen lawsuits that have been filed against USC. Whether the cases go to trial or a settlement is reached remains to be seen, but in this age of the #MeToo and Times Up, this latest scandal at USC certainly isn’t the first, and very likely, won’t be the last.