Daniella Mohazab was 19-years-old when she went to former USC gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall for an STD test in April 2016.
“Without a glove, he put two fingers in me and felt around. He said, ‘I think we better use some lube,’” she said during a Tuesday press conference.
He also told her Filipina women are “good in bed.” “USC is a great school, but this should not have happened,” Mohazab said.
At the time, she had no idea that at least eight complaints had been made against Tyndall between 2000 and 2014, with one woman saying he made her feel “uncomfortable” and another insisting he “gave me the skeevies.”
Lucy Chi, who was a first-year graduate student when she went to Tyndall in 2012, was unaware, too. Chi felt distressed and uncomfortable during the entire visit—but didn’t feel she could “second guess” the doctor, whom she wanted to trust, her federal lawsuit says.
“Tyndall moved his fingers in and out of her vagina, saying he wanted to loosen up her vaginal muscles for the speculum,” the lawsuit says. “Chi told Tyndall that was unnecessary, but he insisted the penetration and movement prevented discomfort.”
Chi said she left feeling “violated and embarrassed” after her visit with Tyndall. So did scores of other former USC students. The disgraced doctor has been accused of a whole litany of unseemly behavior: taking photos of patients’ genitals, inserting an ungloved hand in a patients’ vagina, forcing one woman to strip naked in his presence, and making sexually inappropriate comments during exams.
“Tyndall used his position of trust to place women in a place of complete vulnerability: naked or partially unclothed in a closed examination room with the expectation that physical contact would occur for medical treatment in accordance with the standard of care,” says Chi’s lawsuit, which was filed on Monday.
An investigation published last week by the Los Angeles Times opened a floodgate of complaints against the doctor—and prompting 200 professors to come forward demanding USC President C.L. Max Nikias’ resignation.
Some 300 people have come forward with complaints about Tyndall—who didn’t the leave the university until 2017, when he was quietly paid off, the Times reported. The university has started sharing some of the names of patients with the Los Angeles Police Department as it begins a criminal investigation, according to the newspaper.
Capt. Billy Hayes, who oversees the Robbery-Homicide Division that handles sex crimes, said detectives would “triage the investigations in a way similar to how it handled multiple allegations against Hollywood figures such as Harvey Weinstein.”
Tyndall, 71, is also under investigation from the Medical Board of California, but the scope of the inquiry is “unclear.”
The scandal has roiled the esteemed university, as more women continue coming forward—and calls for Nikias’ ouster grow louder. As of early Wednesday afternoon, more than 3,000 people had signed a Change.org petition demanding his resignation.
“We, the undersigned faculty, write to express our outrage and disappointment over the mounting evidence of President Nikias’ failure to protect our students, our staff, and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct,” professors wrote in their letter to the university’s board of trustees.
Tyndall has told the Times that he did nothing wrong, and never had any “sexual urges” toward patients. School officials have also insisted that senior leadership wasn’t aware of the complaints against the doctor until 2017, when they were informed about the findings of an internal 2016 investigation into Tyndall. USC didn’t report the gynecologist to the California Medical Board until earlier this year, after he sent a letter to the school seeking reinstatement.
“It is true that our system failed, but it is important that you know that this claim of a cover-up is patently false,” USC Provost Michael Quick said in a letter Tuesday. “We would never knowingly put students in harm’s way.”
So far, at least seven women have filed lawsuits against the university and Tyndall, including four who are being represented by attorney John Manly, who helped victims of Dr. Larry Nassar secure a $500-million settlement from Michigan State University earlier this month.
“For most women, the first time they go see a gynecologist is in college,” Manly told the Daily Trojan. “And a lot of them go because they need care or because they want to be sexually active to get better contraceptives. That’s a very vulnerable time — an emotional time — and the allegations are that Dr. Tyndall took advantage of this, which is disgusting, if true.”