LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The fallout continued over the weekend after Friday’s announcement that University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias was stepping down amid a scandal involving a health center gynecologist accused of sexual assault.
The school said Nikias, along with school’s executive committee on its board of trustees, had decided he would resign from his post for his handling of sexual assault accusations against George Tyndall, a former gynecologist that had worked in the school’s health center for nearly 30 years. This comes after the school’s initial defense of Nikias prompted by a letter from 200 faculty members demanding he step down.
“Now that the board is agreeing that there’s definitely some fault here on the part of the leadership at USC, […] we’ll be able to move forward,” Lucy Chi, an alleged victim of Tyndall’s, told CBS2 News.
USC students CBS2 spoke to Saturday said Nikias’ removal was the right thing to do.
“The fact that so many complaints have come in and it took years for him to be fired, and then he got paid even after he was fired, I think that’s kind of ridiculous,” said Katie Usellis.
“The way the publicity has leaned in the last couple of weeks, it’s been like a necessity that he be gone just because it’s such a scandal,” said Conor Hayes. “And even if you’re not directly to blame, if you don’t know, it’s your job to know.”
Online, some people said the trustees who had prior knowledge of the allegations should also have to step down.
A week and a half ago, the Los Angeles Times published an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by George Tyndall. Several alleged victims accused Tyndall of making inappropriate sexual and racist remarks during their examinations. More serious accusations involved digital insertion by Tyndall, acts that were ultimately reported to the school’s administration.
Nikias said the school’s Office of Equity and Diversity received a complaint about Tyndall in June 2016 and placed Tyndall on administrative leave. However, Tyndall did not resign until 2017 and received a “secret payout” a few months before Nikias’ became aware, he has stated.
Nikias and the school have been criticized for their handling of the accusations, mainly that administrators waited too long to remove Tyndall, which allowed him to treat more female students.
After the story was published, about 200 more patients came forward accusing the doctor of similar conduct. The Times reported some cases were being forwarded to the Los Angeles Police Dept.
The current scandal comes less than a year after it was revealed that then dean of USC’s Keck School of Medicine Carmen Puliafito was accused of providing drugs to his girlfriend, a sex worker, in addition to allegations he partied with teenagers.