mcloudy.png
Thursday February 27th, 2020 8:22AM

Ex-USC gynecologist charged in sex assaults of 16 patients

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former longtime gynecologist at the University of Southern California was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting 16 women at the student health center, the first criminal counts in a case that already has seen USC offer to pay $215 million to settle potentially thousands of claims. 

Dr. George Tyndall, 72, worked at USC for nearly three decades, and news of his arrest on 29 felony charges that could send him to prison for 53 years was welcomed by women who accuse him of misconduct and lawyers representing them.

Some, however, criticized the delay in filing charges after allegations against the doctor first surfaced in May 2018.

Authorities said Wednesday the investigation is continuing and more charges could follow.

"It was time to seek justice," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said at a news conference.

In the past year, more than 380 women have reported misconduct by Tyndall, authorities said. Some of the cases fell outside the 10-year statute of limitations, while others did not rise to the level of criminal charges or lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Police took Tyndall him into custody outside his Mid-Wiltshire home and said they found a loaded revolver in his possession.

His attorney, Andrew Flier, said he didn't know about the weapon, adding that Tyndall is not suicidal or a danger to anyone else.

Tyndall was hospitalized at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center because of chest pains that followed his arrest.

Tyndall has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyers say his interactions with patients were medically appropriate.

"We are very much looking forward to adjudicating this case in a courtroom because of this character assassination," Flier said. "We're going to be able to punch some serious holes in all these allegations."

Daniella Mohazab, who says Tyndall assaulted her in 2016, called the arrest "a huge step in moving forward."

"I broke down at work today in tears of happiness that Tyndall is behind bars," Mohazab said during a news conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred. "I cannot explain how scared I felt walking around with the thought that I could run into Tyndall at any moment, in a grocery store, coffee shop or park."

Allred said she is representing two of the 16 women in the criminal case but would not say if Mohazab is one of them.

The allegations against Tyndall surfaced months after the conclusion of the closely watched sexual misconduct case against Larry Nasser, a former sports doctor for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. He was accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of women and girls and now is serving decades-long sentences for sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.

Another college gynecologist, Dr. James Heaps, formerly of the University of California, Los Angeles, is facing charges of sexual misconduct involving two patents.

In Tyndall's case, prosecutors say 16 patients ranging from 17 to 29 were abused during visits to the student health center for annual exams or other treatment.

A dozen full-time detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division traveled to 16 states and Canada to interview hundreds of victims, police Capt. William Hayes said.

Police discovered photographs of women in "compromising" positions that may have been taken during gynecological exams, as well as 1,000 "home-made sex tapes" believed to be filmed outside the U.S., Hayes said.

Tyndall is charged with 29 felonies, including 18 counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud. Victims were unaware of what was going on because he led them to believe it served a professional purpose, the criminal complaint states.

His bail has been set at $2.1 million; arraignment has not been scheduled.

More than 700 women have filed individual civil lawsuits against Tyndall and USC in state court. Separately, USC has agreed to a $215 million class-action settlement with former patients, which would create a fund to pay $2,500 to $250,000 to women who say Tyndall abused them.

As many as 17,000 students and alumnae are eligible, according to the university.

Tyndall's medical license has been suspended since 2018, and he is not allowed to practice medicine, according to the state medical board's website.

Interim USC President Wanda M. Austin said the university has cooperated with authorities.

"We care deeply about our community and our top priority continues to be the well-being of our students, health center patients and university community," Austin said in a statement. "We hope this arrest will be a healing step."

Police Chief Michel Moore said police have not found any evidence that USC obstructed the criminal investigation and praised school officials for their cooperation.

Heaps, the former UCLA gynecologist, appeared in court Wednesday and a preliminary hearing was set for July 30.

He has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two patients in 2017 and 2018.

Attorneys in civil actions against Heaps say they have been contacted by dozens of women for incidents dating to the 1990s. Heaps' lawyer, Tracy Green, maintains the doctor did nothing wrong and women are coming forward based on advertising being done for law firms.

UCLA's investigation began in December 2017, but the university did not alert the campus community about the allegations until Heaps was arrested earlier this month. The school has promised an independent review of its response.

___

Associated Press writer Natalie Rice contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ex-USC gynecologist charged in sex assaults of 16 patients
Los Angeles prosecutors say a former University of Southern California campus gynecologist has been charged in the sexual assaults of 16 patients at the campus student health center
3:20PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Defense: Chinese scholar's killer offered to locate body
Lawyers for a former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted of killing a scholar from China says he offered after his arrest to divulge where her remains are in exchange for a life sentence
3:04PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Seoul: US, N. Korea in talks to set up 3rd Trump-Kim summit
Seoul: US and North Korean officials holding "behind-the-scenes" talks to set up a third Trump-Kim summit
3:02PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Divide between rural, urban Oregon is fueling climate fight
A political fight over climate legislation in Oregon shows the widening divide between liberal cities and rural areas that are struggling financially
2:42PM ( 41 minutes ago )
NRA's top lobbyist resigns amid turmoil within the group
The National Rifle Association's top lobbyist has resigned in another sign of infighting within the powerful gun lobbying group
2:42PM ( 41 minutes ago )
The Latest: Defense presents testimony in SEAL murder case
Defense attorneys for a Navy SEAL accused of killing a wounded prisoner in Iraq say the Navy has indicated that fellow SEALs who had taken the stand could be prosecuted for earlier acts despite being granted immunity
2:41PM ( 42 minutes ago )
AP National News
Alleged sex tape in R. Kelly case turned over to defense
Prosecutors have turned over to R. Kelly's attorneys a tape they say shows the singer having sex with a minor girl two decades ago
1:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Judge accused of aiding wanted immigrant wants pay restored
A lawyer for a judge charged with helping a defendant evade an immigration enforcement agent says it's unfair to take away her salary while she's fighting to clear her name in court
1:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Wayfair workers protest contract with detention center
Employees at online home furnishings retailer Wayfair have planned a walkout to protest the company's decision to sell $200,000 worth of furniture to a government contractor that runs a detention center for migrant children in Texas
1:12PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Defense: Chinese scholar's killer offered to locate body
Lawyers for a former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted of killing a scholar from China says he offered after his arrest to divulge where her remains are in exchange for a life sentence
3:04PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Seoul: US, N. Korea in talks to set up 3rd Trump-Kim summit
Seoul: US and North Korean officials holding "behind-the-scenes" talks to set up a third Trump-Kim summit
3:02PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Police: Ex-USC gynecologist charged in sexual assault case
Los Angeles prosecutors say a former University of Southern California campus gynecologist has been charged in the sexual assaults of 16 patients at the campus student health center
3:02PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Co-star of 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' dies of cancer at 51
The wife of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman has died
3:01PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Defense presents testimony in Navy SEAL murder case
Defense lawyers went on the offensive in the murder trial of a Navy SEAL accused of killing a wounded young Islamic State prisoner in Iraq
3:01PM ( 22 minutes ago )