Defense Waiting to Hear if New Charges to be Filed Against USC Gynecologist
Posted Friday, July 12, 2019 - 1:45 pm
(CNS) – A defense attorney said Friday he is waiting to hear if Los Angeles County prosecutors will file additional charges against former USC campus gynecologist George Tyndall, who is charged with sexually assaulting 16 patients.
One of Tyndall’s attorneys, Leonard Levine, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan the defense hopes to know “if there are going to be any additional allegations” by July 26, when the 72-year-old doctor is due back in a downtown courtroom.
A date is scheduled to be set then for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require Tyndall — who remains jailed — to stand trial.
Outside court, Levine told reporters he asked for a two-week delay in Friday’s court hearing because the defense is continuing to receive police reports and other material from the prosecution and “we also want to find out if there are going to be any additional charges against Dr. Tyndall.”
“We prefer to know exactly what we’re up against, how many charges, how many alleged victims before we go to (a) preliminary hearing,” the defense attorney said.
Tyndall is charged with 18 felony counts of sexual penetration and 11 felony counts of sexual battery by force. Prosecutors said the alleged victims range in age from 17 to 29, and the alleged assaults occurred between 2009 and 2016 while Tyndall worked at the campus health center.
The judge lowered Tyndall’s bail from nearly $2.1 million to $1.6 million during a hearing Tuesday, in which she ordered him to be confined to his home under GPS monitoring and barred from practicing medicine if he is able to post the reduced bail amount. But he has been unable to post the bond, according to his attorney.
“… It’s very high bond for him to make and we’re exploring all our options and hopefully he’ll be able to raise the funds and collateral to post bond,” Levine told reporters.
During Tuesday’s court hearing, Levine told the judge it is a “highly defensible case” and that Tyndall did not flee despite being aware for months that he was under investigation in connection with the allegations.
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller objected to the defense’s request for lowered bail, telling the judge many of the alleged victims were undergoing their first gynecological examinations and many were foreign students who were victimized in a “total breach of trust.”
The prosecutor said Tyndall had a loaded .38-caliber handgun in his pants pocket when he was stopped June 26 by Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Division officers after being seen driving out of the parking structure of his condominium, and that police also recovered pepper spray and a box cutter from the defendant.
In court papers objecting to the defense’s request for the bail reduction, the prosecutor wrote that a search of Tyndall’s storage unit turned up “multiple images” of “young females in clinic settings in compromising positions” and that hundreds of self-made sex videos were recovered — many of which “appear to be filmed in a hotel room(s) outside the U.S.”
The prosecutor noted in the court filing that the defendant’s mailing address as of November 2018 is the same address for a business “operated by the defendant under which homemade sex videos involving young women, seemingly filmed in hotel rooms outside the U.S., were advertised to purchase for cash.”
Levine told reporters the defense has seen “no evidence that he has engaged in selling any photographs of any of the patients he examined at USC,” and that he was not going to comment on allegations on which Tyndall has not been charged.
Tyndall, who has been accused of sexually abusing hundreds of patients during his decades-long career at USC, complained of chest pains after being arrested June 26 by Los Angeles police. He was taken to a hospital for treatment, but was moved into the county jail two days later.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said last month that a dozen LAPD detectives have investigated assault allegations by more than 350 women and presented more than 130 potential cases to the District Attorney’s Office, raising the possibility of more charges being filed.
Tyndall could face a maximum of 53 years in state prison if convicted as charged.
USC officials said the university has been cooperating with the investigation.
Hundreds of former patients have sued Tyndall and USC, accusing the university of failing to respond to allegations of abuse by the campus gynecologist dating back decades.
On June 13, a federal judge in Los Angeles gave preliminary approval to a $215 million class-action settlement with some of the plaintiffs.
Hundreds of other women are still suing the university and Tyndall in state court. Attorneys for those alleged victims have criticized the federal class-action settlement, calling it inadequate.
The lawsuits contend the university received numerous complaints of Tyndall’s alleged sexually abusive behavior, dating back to at least 1988, and actively and deliberately concealed his actions. Attorneys for some former patients allege that following an internal investigation of complaints against Tyndall in 2016, the university paid Tyndall a substantial financial settlement so he would quietly resign.
USC officials have denied any cover-up.
In an open letter to faculty and staff in May 2018, USC Provost Michael Quick said top administrators did not know about the complaints until 2016.
“It is true that our system failed, but it is important that you know that this claim of a cover-up is patently false,” Quick wrote. “We would never knowingly put students in harm’s way.”
In a letter sent to the USC community, Austin stressed that the university has “significantly strengthened operations and oversight at the Student Health Center,” including hiring more female physicians and implementing new protocols for investigating complaints.