A University of Southern California gynecologist who is accused of sexual misconduct dating to the 1990s said some women who reported him were jealous because they couldn't reach orgasms or look like his younger patients, according to a report.
Dr. George Tyndall worked at USC for nearly 30 years, despite complaints about his conduct coming as early as 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The first complaints made against Tyndall came from coworkers and professional chaperones who accompanied students to doctor visits. Many noted that Tyndall had been taking pictures of his patients' genitals. At least eight official complaints filed between 2000 and 2014 alleged that Tyndall made suggestive comments about patients' bodies and would often touch them in ways that had no medical purpose.
More recently, complaints suggested that Tyndall had specifically been targeting the school's Chinese students, many of whom had a limited understanding of English.
“I was blindly trusting of doctors. I pretty much followed whatever they say,” said student Chelsea Wu, who visited Tyndall when she was 19, in an interview with KTLA in Los Angeles. Wu said Tyndall made comments about her heritage and body that made her feel uncomfortable. She also said Tyndall had inappropriately inserted his fingers inside of her.
Tyndall denied the accusations and said he was "set up" by the clinic staff. In a series of interviews with the Times, he suggested that jealousy over the ability to reach orgasm and the tight pelvic muscles of young patients was a motivating factor for the older chaperones who reported him.
"When I am on my deathbed, I want to think there are thousands and thousands of Trojan women out there whose health I made a difference in," he told the Times.
UCS finally acted on the complaints against Tyndall in 2016, when he was suspended after nurse Cindy Gilbert went to a rape crisis center.
Gilbert later said that the school rescinded a promised promotion in the wake of her report as retaliation. The school denies this accusation.
An internal USC investigation said Tyndall acted outside the scope of medical practices.
"Several of the complaints were concerning enough that it is not clear today why the former health center director permitted Tyndall to remain in his position," the university said in a summary of the investigation.
In a secret deal, the school allowed Tyndall to resign with a financial payout. Students were not informed of the situation, nor was the Medical Board of California. Tyndall's resignation was made effective on June 30, 2017. The staff at the clinic was not informed of the circumstances surrounding the resignation.
"In hindsight, while not legally obligated, USC now believes it should have filed a consumer complaint with the Medical Board earlier in 2017 when Tyndall resigned," the university said in a statement. The school added that it would be re-evaluating its procedures for reporting physicians.
USC President C.L. Max Nikias, in anticipation of the publication of the Times report, sent a letter to students apologizing for the school's inaction.
"On behalf of the university, I sincerely apologize to any student who may have visited the student health center and did not receive the respectful care each individual deserves," Nikias wrote.
Tyndall added that he was considering pursuing a lawsuit against USC that would force them to reinstate him. In January, Tyndall renewed his California medical license.
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