02:51 - Source: CNN
USC offers $215 million to settle sex abuse case
CNN —  

A court granted preliminary approval to a $215 million settlement for a federal class action lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse by a former gynecologist at the University of Southern California

Because of the court’s preliminary approval, the university can give official notice to George Tyndall’s former patients, according to the USC’s interim president Wanda M. Austin.

A USC lawyer told CNN last year that as many as 17,000 women could qualify for the class action settlement.

Those who qualify include women who saw Tyndall, had their breasts or genitals examined by him and women who he photographed or video-taped nude or partially nude. The compensation will be broken into three tiers ranging from $2,500 to $250,000, with more money awarded to those who submit written forms and complete interviews about their suffering.

“This settlement will provide relief to those who were affected by this difficult experience,” Austin said in a statement. “It is an important milestone for those former patients seeking certain resolution without reliving their painful experiences.”

Tyndall was a gynecologist at the university’s student health center for almost thirty years. He was fired by USC in 2017 after complaints of sexual misconduct and racist language.

Those accusations included groping patients, penetrating them digitally, taking photographs of their bodies and exposing himself. Tyndall denies any wrongdoing.

University officials said the school reached a settlement with Tyndall but did not report him to law enforcement or state medical authorities.

The settlement also requires USC to strengthen their oversight, including background checks for all personnel who interact with patients and giving female students the option to see a female doctor, according to the filing.

A task force will be formed to make policy change recommendations at USC, an independent women’s health advocate will be appointed to supervise the investigation of complaints and training for students to prevent inappropriate sexual behavior, according to the filing.

The university said in a statement that they have already begun reforms, female physicians have been hired and new protocols have been implemented to ensure investigation of complaints.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office says it “has received a total of 99 crime reports” about Tyndall from the Los Angeles Police Department, but he has not been charged with any crime.

This class-action settlement is separate from other lawsuits that have been filed in the state of California and Los Angeles County against Tyndall and the university. Those remain outstanding.

CNN’s Casey Wian and Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report.