George Tyndall was an American gynecologist whose life and career were marred by serious allegations of sexual abuse, racial discrimination, and unprofessional conduct during his tenure at the University of Southern California (USC). His actions led to one of the largest investigations of sexual abuse by a single perpetrator in the Los Angeles Police Department’s history. Let’s delve into the life and controversies surrounding George Tyndall.
Early Life and Education
George Tyndall was born and raised in Plattsburgh, New York. He attended the State University of New York Plattsburgh but interrupted his studies to join the Navy in 1967. During his military service, he underwent training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey to study Vietnamese, which was in high demand for American intelligence efforts during the Vietnam War. He was later stationed in the Philippines and learned Tagalog.
In 1971, Tyndall was honorably discharged from the Navy and resumed his studies at the State University of New York, where he graduated summa cum laude.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Tyndall ventured into the field of medicine. In 1980, he went to the Philippines to begin medical school at the University of the East, Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center and later transferred to the Drexel University College of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Pennsylvania).
Upon graduating from medical school, Tyndall embarked on a career in obstetrics and gynecology. He completed his residency at Kaiser in Los Angeles, where he focused on preventative care. He then found a position at the student health center at the University of Southern California.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Harassment
The most significant controversy surrounding George Tyndall revolves around allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. In May 2018, the Los Angeles Times published an investigative article that brought to light numerous allegations of sexual abuse by Tyndall. Subsequently, hundreds of women came forward, accusing him of sexual abuse and racial discrimination.
In June 2019, Tyndall was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department and charged with 29 felonies related to allegations by 16 women for incidents that occurred from 2009 to 2016. These charges included counts of sexual penetration and sexual battery by fraud. Tyndall pleaded not guilty to the charges, and bail was initially set at $2.1 million, later lowered to $1.6 million. Additional charges were added in July 2020.
Allegations of Racial Harassment and Discrimination
In addition to sexual abuse allegations, reports of racial harassment and discrimination by Tyndall emerged. Students and staff reported inappropriate racial comments, including derogatory statements about various ethnicities. These reports were a cause for concern and were eventually forwarded to the USC Office of Equity and Diversity in 2003.
Treatment of International Students
Tyndall had a preference for Asian patients and international students, which raised suspicions that he targeted them due to their unfamiliarity with American culture, the English language, and the practice of American gynecology. External investigations indicated that Tyndall’s conduct was biased in favor of these patients.
Internal Investigations and USC’s Response
Concerns about Tyndall’s behavior were primarily handled internally at USC’s health centers. However, these internal investigations did not result in meaningful consequences or changes in Tyndall’s behavior. There were reports of his unhygienic practices and other unprofessional conduct, including inappropriate comments and behavior during medical examinations.
In January 2017, after the conclusion of an investigation, Tyndall faced termination but was offered a severance package if he agreed to resign. He resigned effective June 30, 2017, with the details of the severance package undisclosed.
Criminal Investigation and Settlements
The accusations against George Tyndall led to a significant criminal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Search warrants were executed at his residence and storage units, uncovering additional evidence, including illicit photographs. Preliminary hearings on multiple felony charges began in November 2021.
USC agreed to a class-action settlement of $215 million in June 2019 to compensate tens of thousands of women who had been treated by Tyndall. Subsequently, in March 2021, USC reached a $852 million settlement with a group of 710 women, making it the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university.
Personal Life and Passing
George Tyndall was married to Daisy Patricio, a Filipina woman from Mindanao. He lived in Los Angeles and did not have any children. On October 4, 2023, while awaiting trial on numerous charges, George Tyndall was found dead in his bed at the age of 74.
George Tyndall’s life and career are marked by controversy and allegations that have had a significant impact on the medical community and the University of Southern California.