Assemblymember Reyes Introduces Bill to Give Victims of Sexual Assault More Time to File Cases in Court.
Sacramento –Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) introduced AB 1510 to give victims of sexual assault an additional year to file their civil claims. Last year, in a series of articles the Los Angeles Times revealed the 30-year history of gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall’s acts of sexual assaults and mistreatment of patients at the University of Southern California’s student health center. The pattern of behavior revealed in the media coverage and the subsequent witness testimonies revealed shocking details of sexual assault and harassment inflicted on patients while he served as USC’s student health center gynecologist. AB 1510 would give victims of his conscious shocking behavior an additional year to file their claims in court. “I'm a Trojan to the core. That's what made this (coming forward) so difficult. My life is so USC-centric." Said Nicole Haynes, a former USC student and survivor of Dr. Tyndall. Her case dates to 1995, her junior year, when she went to the clinic with the worst case of food poisoning she had ever experienced, came under the care of Tyndall, and like so many was put through the ordeal of a full vaginal exam, the first of her life as she had never before been to an OB-GYN. "It never sat well with me all these years," she explained. "He violated me. When I started reading the stories, the feelings I've had since 1995 were validated. I had to come forward."
“This additional year to file a claim is necessary because many victims were afraid to come forward before seeing the media coverage and learning that they were not the only victim, but one of thousands of women that were part of a decades long cycle of sexual assault and abuse committed at what otherwise was supposed to be a safe space.” Assemblymember Reyes continued, “As a proud graduate of USC I am appalled that Dr. Tyndall was allowed to continue his actions even though it has been reported that numerous administrators and other student health center employees complained. Media reports show patient complaints of his inappropriate behavior as early as 1991. Colleges and universities are meant to be safe spaces of learning where parents and students trust that institutions of learning will honor their commitment to keep our young people safe and away from harm. Unfortunately, that solemn trust has been violated and has left in its wake women who will have to carry the burden of their experiences for a lifetime.”
Before the story was revealed in the media, USC had found in an internal investigation that Tyndall’s behavior during exams amounted to sexual harassment of students. The outcome of the investigation allowed Tyndall to quietly resign with a payout and keep his medical license. Recently, USC agreed to a tentative settlement to pay $215 million to former patients. The settlement calls for a minimum $2,500 payment to any USC students treated by Dr. Tyndall and up to $250,000 to those who were sexually assaulted or harassed. The settlement would only apply to a federal class action lawsuit and not hundreds of other patients suing in Los Angeles Superior Court.