US & Canada

University of Southern California president quits in gynaecology scandal

Engemann Student Health Centre at USC Image copyright AFP
Image caption The gynaecologist in the case worked at the university for 30 years

The president of the University of Southern California (USC) has quit amid a scandal over the alleged actions of a former college gynaecologist.

CL Max Nikias has agreed to step down, with the university facing several lawsuits and accusations of a cover up.

The lawsuits accuse George Tyndall, who worked at a university clinic for 30 years, of sexual misconduct, including groping and improper examinations.

Mr Tyndall, 71, has denied any wrongdoing in interviews with US media.

'Improper probing'

The USC's board of trustees announced the departure of Mr Nikias in a letter, saying: "We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed.

"We will rebuild our culture to reflect an environment in which safety and transparency are of paramount importance, and to institute systemic change that will prevent this from occurring in the future."

Some 200 professors had joined students in demanding Mr Nikias, 65, step down.

The Tyndall case arose after the Los Angeles Times published accounts from former and current employees about his alleged actions.

A number of lawsuits and class actions have now been filed.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lawyer Gloria Allred (L) listens to client Danielle Mohazab's allegations against George Tyndall

Two class actions were filed on Friday "on behalf of thousands of female students".

Lawyer Howard Janet said his team's case "centres on allegations of grossly improper pelvic exams that involved improper probing, at times without gloves, sexually charged remarks and illicit photographing of genitalia".

Mr Janet was behind the legal action that saw a $190m (£111m) settlement in 2014 at Johns Hopkins Hospital over secret tapes made there by gynaecologist Nikita Levy.

A lawyer for another group taking action at USC, John Manly, said the case there also had echoes of Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, who is serving a life term in jail for sexually abusing more than 300 women and girls at the university and at USA Gymnastics.

The group he is part of, Jane Does 5-10, alleges the university deliberately concealed Mr Tyndall's alleged abuses and failed to take action on complaints.

Police are still carrying out interviews to determine if any crimes were committed.

Mr Tyndall denied wrongdoing in interviews with the LA Times.

He left the university in 2017 after it found he had made inappropriate remarks to patients.

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