LOS ANGELES (CN) – Former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of sexual assault of 16 women at a student health center.
Tyndall, 72, turned to his side as TV cameras were allowed in the courtroom during the arraignment, which occurred more than a year after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed gynecological examinations that went beyond the extent of a normal medical procedure.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan set bail at $2.1 million as requested by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. But Tyndall’s attorney George Flier said bail “is being used as a weapon” and will argue for a reduction at a hearing Wednesday.
Police arrested and charged Tyndall with 29 felonies last week, including 18 counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud. Nearly 400 women reported misconduct by Tyndall in the last year, according to police, though some fell outside the statute of limitations and others did not rise to the level of criminal charges.
According to investigators, the allegations against Tyndall span a period of 26 years. They say Tyndall led patients to believe he was conducting gynecological exams, though they have found photographs of women in “compromising” positions that could have been taken during an exam. They also uncovered 1,000 “home-made tapes” believed to have been filmed outside the United States, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
Flier asked for home confinement for Tyndall because of “serious medical concerns” including a heart condition and diabetes. He added Tyndall is not a flight risk since he’s known about the criminal investigation for some time.
“He’s known about this for over a year,” said Flier.
Sullivan disagreed and said there are 29 serious felony charges against Tyndall at this time. She also ordered limits to Tyndall’s ability to practice medicine and prescribe medication, despite Flier’s assertion his medical license is no longer active.
Prosecutors say former patients of Tyndall claim the abuse occurred during annual exams or other treatment at the campus clinic. Last year, LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said Tyndall saw some 10,000 students over the course of his career from 1990 to 2016.
Last October, USC agreed to pay $215 million to settle a federal class action on claims against Tyndall. All former patients in that class will receive $2,500, while patients “who are willing to provide further details about their experience could be eligible for additional compensation up to $250,000,” according to the university. As many as 17,000 students and alumnae are eligible.