Federal judge releases USC records in gynecologist lawsuit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — University of Southern California records reveal medical experts hired to evaluate a campus gynecologist after years of complaints reported there was evidence he preyed on Asian students and had signs of “psychopathy,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The confidential report was among USC records concerning Dr. George Tyndall that were made public Thursday by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson at the newspaper’s request.
The records had been filed under seal a part of a class-action lawsuit by former patients against Tyndall and USC, following a Times investigation into claims of sexual abuse or harassment of patients by the gynecologist.
Wilson said in a written ruling that the public had an interest in “all pertinent information” about Tyndall and the university’s response.
“Providing the public with all available nonprivileged information furthers the public narrative about inappropriate sexual behavior and ensures for longer-lasting changes beyond the case at hand,” Wilson wrote.
Since news of the allegations and USC’s handling of them over many years surfaced last year, university President C.L. Max Nikias was ousted, most top administrators have left or will soon, more than 650 lawsuits have been filed, and Los Angeles police have been conducting an extensive sex crimes investigation.
Tyndall hasn’t been charged, and he denies any wrongdoing.
The gynecologist, who started at the campus clinic in 1989, was suspended in 2016, when the expert evaluation began, and he later left his post with a substantial payout, the Times reported.
Newly released records include documents handed over to lawyers for plaintiffs and another set of records given to the judge for his decision on whether to approve a $215 million settlement with some former patients in the class action.
Memos, correspondence and handwritten complaints are among records dating to the 1990s.
The records show that the medical experts hired to evaluate Tyndall told the university he appeared to be targeting international students from Asia who were vulnerable because of their age and language skills.
“If the patients were young and Asian, they were more likely to have a pelvic exam completed,” said the report from Colorado-based consulting firm MDReview.
The evaluation included inspection of medical charts, review of university files and interviews with clinic staffers, administrators and Tyndall.
The report found that Tyndall’s pelvic exams were inappropriate and not within medical standards, and that he had “unusual and potentially dangerous opinions about breast exams.”
The experts were concerned about photographs Tyndall took of patients’ genitals and his “dubious” reasons for keeping them.
Patients who were “non-Asian, obese, or older” were less likely to receive a pelvic exam, according to the report.
Tyndall had potential mental health problems, including “underlying psychopathy,” the report said. It noted such signs as hoarding, poor hygiene and his request to personally keep a patient’s used intrauterine device.
Those issues were outside the scope of the report, but “impossible to ignore,” it said.
An attorney representing the university said in a letter to Wilson that by the time administrators received the report Tyndall had already been suspended and never treated another USC patient.
The proposed federal class-action settlement could give $2,500 to $250,000 to the plaintiffs against Tyndall. Former patients with allegations against Tyndall are deciding whether to join the settlement, which has been criticized by attorneys for hundreds of women in state court cases.
USC published a website with all the materials that were filed in court, and the university’s interim president, Wanda Austin, said in a statement late Thursday that the records “should help confirm that the proposed settlement remains the best option” for resolution.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/