Ex-USC gynecologist charged with sexually assaulting students dies before going to trial
Oct 5, 2023, 12:03 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former University of Southern California campus gynecologist charged with sexually assaulting numerous students was found dead Wednesday inside his home, his lawyer said.
Leonard Levine, George Tyndall’s defense attorney, confirmed the death to The Associated Press on Thursday.
Tyndall, who was in his mid-70s, was awaiting trial on 35 criminal counts of sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2016 at the university’s student health center. He pleaded not guilty in 2019 and was free on bond.
A close friend went to Tyndall’s home in Los Angeles on Wednesday after he had not answered her phone calls, Levine said. She found him dead in his bed.
While the coroner’s office will do an autopsy, Levine said there is “no evidence of foul play or suicide.”
Levine said Tyndall was due back in court later this month to set a date for his trial. His client had denied any wrongdoing and wanted to present his case before a jury.
“He’s always maintained his innocence,” Levine said.
Hundreds of women came forward to report their allegations to police but some of the cases fell outside the 10-year statute of limitations, while others did not rise to the level of criminal charges or lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute. Still, he faced up to 64 years in prison if convicted.
Even as the criminal case was pending, USC agreed to an $852 million settlement with more than 700 women who accused the college’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse, the victims’ lawyers and USC announced in 2021.
Tyndall, who worked at the school for nearly three decades, was deposed for the settlement and largely invoked his rights against self-incrimination in answers, the plaintiff’s lawyers said. While he signed the settlement, he did not contribute any money toward it and did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Separately, USC earlier agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that applies to about 18,000 women who were patients of Tyndall. The individual payouts to those victims range from $2,500 to $250,000, and were given regardless of whether the women formally accused Tyndall of harassment or assault.
Allegations against Tyndall first surfaced in 2018 in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, which revealed that the doctor had been the subject of complaints of sexual misconduct at USC dating back to the 1990s.
He wasn’t suspended until 2016, when a nurse reported him to a rape crisis center. He was able to quietly resign with a large payout the next year.
Tyndall surrendered his medical license in September 2019.