A former gynecologist at the student health clinic of the University of Southern California (USC) who was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students — many of them Chinese — was found dead ahead of his trial.
Background: George Tyndall, who worked at the Engemann Student Health Center for about 30 years, faced the wave of accusations in 2018. In a suspicious manner, he allegedly photographed his patients’ genitals, fondled their breasts or moved his fingers in and out of their vagina.
Tyndall faced 35 counts of sexual misconduct, according to AP News. He pleaded not guilty in 2019 and was set free on a $1.3 million bond.
Death: A female friend found Tyndall dead on his bed in his condominium in Westlake, Los Angeles. She reportedly came to visit after failing to reach him on the phone.
What his lawyer is saying: Leonard Levine, Tyndall’s attorney, said his client was “very much looking forward” to having his day in court, CNN noted. Tyndall was set to stand trial next year at the L.A. County Superior Court.
What alleged victims are saying: Tyndall’s accusers expressed disappointment over the news of his death. Lucy Chi, who was one of his former patients, was supposed to testify in his trial.
“I’m so disappointed,” Chi said, as per the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve been afraid for five years, ever since the story came out, that we’d never see justice.”
Tyndall’s case moved slowly. UCLA gynecologist James Heaps, for one, who was charged just a month before Tyndall was, was convicted last October and sentenced in April.
“It’s very sad that we don’t get the same kind of justice that the UCLA women get, or Larry Nassar’s survivors get, or all the other women who have been sexually abused by doctors with campuses that covered it up,” Audry Nafziger, another accuser, told KTLA. “They get to have justice, but we do not.”
What’s next: An autopsy will no longer be performed to determine the cause of Tyndall’s death. However, one of the victims’ lead lawyers, John Manly, is pushing for a full investigation.
The USC, for its part, has paid $1.1 billion in settlements.