Calls for US university president to resign over abuse scandal

The scandal erupted last week after the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy investigation detailing years of alleged sexual abuse of students by gynecologist formerly employed at the school.

Published: 23rd May 2018 12:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2018 12:21 AM   |  A+A-

By AFP

LOS ANGELES: Two hundred professors at one of California's top universities on Tuesday demanded the resignation of the school's president over a widening sexual abuse scandal involving a campus gynecologist.

The faculty members of the University of Southern California (USC) said they wanted to "express their outrage and disappointment over the mounting evidence of president (C.L. Max) Nikias' failure to protect our students, our staff, and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct."

In a letter to the board of trustees, the professors said Nikias had lost the "moral authority" to lead the university or to lead an investigation into decades of alleged sexual abuse by George Tyndall, a gynecologist formerly employed at the school.

"USC kept a physician in a position of power and trust who abused that power and trust to sexually assault and degrade women students, targeting for abuse the most vulnerable international and minority students," the letter says.

"The university's conduct is as much at issue in this case as the physician's," it added.

The scandal erupted last week after the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy investigation detailing years of alleged sexual abuse of students by Tyndall while he worked at the school.

On Monday, five women filed lawsuits against the university and Tyndall, with more expected to follow suit.

One of the women alleges that Tyndall forced his entire hand and wrist into her vagina while examining her during an appointment in 2003 and made vulgar comments about her genitalia.

Another woman details how Tyndall, 71, groped her breasts and leered at her on what was her first appointment with a gynecologist in 2008.

USC stands accused of failing to act against Tyndall despite complaints about his behavior going back to at least the year 2000.

The lawsuits claim that the school only launched a probe in 2016 after a supervising nurse, upset at USC's inaction, reported him to the campus rape crisis center. He was then allowed to "quietly" resign in June of last year.

The scandal comes on the heels of another similar case involving Michigan State University, which saw former university doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for abusing girls and women who were treated by him.

MSU last week announced a $500 million settlement with victims of Nassar, who also was the doctor for the USA Gymnastics national team.

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