Fifty-two former patients of a gynecologist who treated thousands of women at the University of Southern California have reported they may have been victims of inappropriate and possibly criminal behavior, police said Tuesday.
Police estimate Dr. George Tyndall may have seen 10,000 patients and they think there could be more victims among women who were examined by Tyndall.
“We wanted to personally outreach to those who may have been impacted and believe they have been the victim of criminal conduct,” Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala said.
The initial reports span from about 1990 to 2016, roughly the same time Tyndall was at the school in Los Angeles, Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg said.
Tyndall is being sued by several former patients, who accuse him of sexual misconduct and using racist language.
Capt. Billy Hayes, whose robbery homicide division investigates reports of sexual assaults, told reporters police are trying to determine whether Tyndall’s reported conduct is criminal.
CNN has tried to call Tyndall but the phone numbers were not in service and he didn’t respond to an email.
But he has told the Los Angeles Times, “I have never had any sexual urges” toward patients. He also described his examinations as thorough and appropriate. Tyndall told the newspaper his use of fingers had “a legitimate medical purpose” and said some of his comments to patients were misinterpreted.
Police have just started to reach out to the 52 women, 13 of whom contacted police directly, Hayes said. Some alleged actions, like racist comments, could be unethical, not criminal, he said. The Medical Board of California is also investigating Tyndall’s conduct, Hayes said.
Girmala assured potential witnesses that her investigators would be empathetic.
“We will hold in confidence any information with great attention to privacy issues,” she said.
The allegations about Tyndall’s behavior first emerged publicly in a May 15 report from the LA Times.
Seven women have filed lawsuits alleging Tyndall, a former gynecologist at USC’s student health center for nearly 30 years, used racist and inappropriately sexual language during consultations and conducted pelvic examinations with his fingers without gloves. The lawsuits also name the university as a defendant.
Tyndall was fired in 2017 for inappropriate behavior, according to USC. University officials said the school reached a settlement with the doctor and did not report him to law enforcement or state medical authorities at the time.
Last week, University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias agreed to step down after current and former students signed an online petition demanding his resignation.