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USC doctor defends himself against sexual assault accusations

China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-30 10:07
Attorney Gloria Allred listens as her client, Danielle Mohazab, speaks about an alleged incident during a 2016 exam with University of Southern California gynecologist Doctor George Tyndall in Los Angeles on May 22. [Photo/Agencies]

George Tyndall, the former doctor at the University of Southern California accused of sexually abusing patients for nearly three decades, maintained that he had done nothing wrong, in a letter to Los Angeles Times on Friday.

"Patients sometimes fabricate stories," wrote Tyndall, a former gynecologist at the university student health center, adding that all clinicians who conduct pelvic exams should have a chaperon present.

According to Tyndall, he had heard of only one patient's complaint before March 2016, which alleged that he had not worn gloves during a pelvic examination.

He also said the clinic's then-executive director, Doctor Larry Neinstein, conducted a poll of medical assistants or nurses who accompanied him as chaperones when he saw patients and that "they confirmed that an exam without a glove never happened".

Mike Lopez, a public information officer at Los Angeles Police Department, said on Monday that no formal investigation has been launched against Tyndall.

The state medical board confirmed to the Times that it is now investigating.

As of Friday afternoon, around 21 former patients of Tyndall, including three Chinese graduates of USC, had filed lawsuits against the university for allegedly ignoring the complaints of staff and patients against the doctor.

About 385 women had called a hotline set up by USC to report their experiences.

Tyndall, 71, had been accused of misconduct such as improper behavior during pelvic exams and making suggestive comments. He reportedly targeted Chinese international students because of their limited understanding of English and US medical practices.

Complaints about Tyndall's behavior started in 1990s, but USC reportedly took no action until a nurse went to the campus rape crisis center in 2016.

In a public letter released May 21, Provost Michael Quick acknowledged that the system for reporting and disciplining Tyndall had broken down, but he said university leaders did not know about the complaints until 2017. USC also allowed Tyndall to resign with a financial payout last summer.

The scandal spurred criticism from faculty members and students about the way the university leaders handled the complaints. Hundreds of faculty members and more than 4,000 alumni and students demanded that President C.L. Max Nikias step down.

The board of trustees stood by Nikias at first but later relented. It announced that Nikias would resign in a public statement on Friday.

Liu Yinmeng contributed to this story.

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