Former Student On USC Doctor Abuse Allegations
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
More than 200 former University of Southern California students are suing the university. Their suit alleges that a former campus gynecologist, George Tyndall, abused and molested them and that USC ignored and covered up complaints for over 30 years that Dr. Tyndall worked there. Dr. Tyndall's attorney said his client, quote, "is adamant he engaged in no criminal conduct while practicing medicine at USC." Amanda Davis is one of the former students suing the university. She joins us now from Tempe, Ariz. Thanks so much for being with us.
AMANDA DAVIS: Thank you for allowing me this opportunity.
SIMON: You attended USC from 1999 to 2002. Can you tell us what happened?
DAVIS: Sure. The USC medical clinic that's on campus was my main provider. And there is one particular appointment that has been ingrained in my head for the last 17 years, and that appointment was with Dr. Tyndall. I recall being naked on the exam table. And knowing that I was a single mom that was going to USC - so I had had a child - he started talking about, basically, how a woman's body is when she's pregnant and how it changes after birth and then how she can regain her body how it was previously. And he stated that he was doing research on this subject. And he asked me if I would allow him to take photographs of me naked. And I did so.
SIMON: Did you tell anyone, if not immediately at the time, in the years that followed?
DAVIS: For me, going to USC as a single mom was a huge deal. It was a very big deal for me. And I felt like, if I said something, that it might cause an issue with me continuing my education, which was going to better my life for myself and my daughter. Or I felt like maybe they would say - why did you allow him to take the pictures? - or turn around back on me. And my daughter, who was 5 when I graduated, is now 21 and played a big part in me coming forward because I just think about - she was the same age I was, approximately, when when this occurred. And as a parent, what would I do if my child was in that situation? And that definitely has influenced me.
SIMON: And - may I ask, why have you joined this lawsuit with so many other women which holds USC responsible and not just Dr. Tyndall?
DAVIS: Absolutely. USC, as far as I'm concerned, definitely had an opportunity back - I believe it was 1991. There was complaints, and they took no action.
SIMON: When you say complaints, you mean complaints about Dr. Tyndall and his - yeah.
DAVIS: Yes, absolutely. And that could have voided a lot of the shame and embarrassment and just pain.
SIMON: We, of course, contacted the USC board of trustees, and they declined an interview. Let me just read from an emailed statement. They say, (reading) the university is conducting a thorough investigation into this matter. We will be seeking a prompt and fair resolution that is respectful of our former students. We are committed to providing the best, most thorough and respectful health care services of any university.
Was that enough for you?
DAVIS: Absolutely not. While I appreciate them responding, I just believe that it's somewhat more of the same - just to protect their brand, protect their name. I think that they have a chance to do more than just making a statement and try to make this get swept under the rug. I think that they could set an example for other colleges and institutions and leave a legacy that is one where the Trojan family could be proud of them.
SIMON: How are you doing?
DAVIS: I'm very thankful. There's some sense of healing in just having this connection with the other women and our conversation. I respect the other women that have come forward and the ones that have made the decision to keep their names as Jane Doe. And I want to be strong and encourage them and be their voice. I think there's a lot of strong women at USC, and I believe that, ultimately, something good has to come of this.
SIMON: Amanda Davis, thanks so much for being with us, ma'am.
DAVIS: Thank you so much. I appreciate your time. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.