LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police said on Tuesday they are investigating sexual misconduct allegations made by 52 former patients of a university gynecologist accused of sexually abusing thousands of students over decades.
The probe into the widening firestorm surrounding George Tyndall, which has already led to the resignation of the University of Southern California’s president, will center on accusations spanning from 1990 to 2016 -- roughly his entire tenure.
LAPD Captain William Hayes said 39 cases were referred from a USC hotline about the 71-year-old physician, whose career came to an end last year when he resigned following nearly a year on paid leave.
"We are here to listen, respond and ultimately work with prosecutors," LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told reporters.
A Los Angeles Times investigation said Tyndall was allowed to continue working despite patients complaining about his sexually charged comments, inappropriate touching and taking of photographs during examinations.
He was removed only after a nurse reported him to the rape crisis center, according to former patients and staffers interviewed by the Times.
An internal university investigation concluded that his pelvic exams were outside the scope of current medical practice and amounted to sexual harassment.
Tyndall defended his medical exams in an interview with the Times, saying they were thorough but appropriate, and arguing that some of his comments to patients had been misinterpreted.
In a letter to the newspaper received on Thursday, Tyndall said he had heard of only one patient’s complaint before March 2016 -- that he did not wear gloves during a pelvic exam, which he denies.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed against one of the populous western state’s most prestigious universities by former Tyndall patients who claim they were abused.
A southern California law firm that had already filed several suits announced three more cases, while uproar over the allegations culminated on Friday with the resignation of USC president C.L. Max Nikias.
"We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed," said Rick J. Caruso, chairman of the board of trustees. — AFP