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Students protest university inaction on doctor abuse claims

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-11 07:41

Around 20 students, volunteers and members of the community gathered at the University of Southern California on Saturday to show solidarity for alleged victims of a former gynecologist and to hold the university accountable for its failure to protect students.

George Tyndall, a former doctor at Engemann Student Health Center, was accused of sexual misconduct such as inappropriately touching patients during examinations and photographing their genitals. Despite multiple complaints, USC did not report him to the California Medical Board until journalists from Los Angeles Times began interviewing employees about him, the paper said.

Tyndall allegedly targeted students from China as many of them had limited understanding of US medical norms and had never experienced a gynecological exam before.

According to the organizers, the primary goal of the event is to provide resources to alleged victims and they called for USC to dismiss any employees who were complicit in the alleged misdeeds of Tyndall.

"I think this is a much safer world that we live in now for women, and I felt that I needed to be strong for them," said Viva Symanski, who co-organized the event with Ariel Sobel, both of whom are former patients of Tyndall.

Participants included representatives from Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Project Consent, USC Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services, as well as Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing victims in lawsuits against Tyndall and USC.

When asked what suggestions she had for the Chinese victims, Allred encouraged them to reach out to attorneys for help.

"You do not have to be a citizen of this country in order to have rights, we care about you, you are somebody's daughter, you are somebody's sister, you may even be somebody's mother, and we want to help you, because you matter, your life matters, and what happens to you matters," she said.

Expanded lawsuit

Allred has already filed one lawsuit against USC and Tyndall for Daniella Mohazab, a USC graduate student, and she said she plans to add 20 women to the lawsuit next week.

According to the Times, more than 400 women had contacted a USC hotline to address concerns about Tyndall since the story first broke in May. The Los Angeles Police Department said it is now investigating at least 52 complaints of misconduct against Tyndall. More than two dozen patients, including three Chinese graduates from USC, had filed a lawsuit against the university and Tyndall.

Rick J. Caruso, the new chairman of the USC Board of Trustees, announced in a letter published on May 31 that an international law firm had been hired to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.

Tyndall has denied all wrongdoing in previous interviews with the Times. In a letter to the paper dated May 17, Tyndall said he had heard of only one patient complaint before March 26.

Liu Yinmeng in Los Angeles contributed to this article.

(China Daily 06/11/2018 page11)

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