A former gynecologist at the University of Southern California repeatedly accused of inappropriate behavior allegedly attacked Chinese international students due to his lack of familiarity with US medical practices, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
Dr. George Tyndall worked at the USC Student Health Clinic for almost 30 years. Over and over again, students and staff accused him of touching patients inappropriately during exams, making suggestive comments and even photographing the genitals of students. They alleged that Tyndall performed full-body scans while the patients lied naked on the exam table, commented on patients' skin and breasts, and sometimes referred to sexual intercourse while their fingers were inside patients.
Several chaperones who accompanied Tyndall during the exams noted that his behavior seemed particularly inappropriate in the case of international students from Asia, some of whom had never before undergone a gynecological examination.
Sung Yeon Cho, executive director of the Asian National Forum of Asian Women of Asia Pacific, told HuffPost that Tyndall's alleged behavior is distressing because many women, especially young women, low-income women of color, have difficulty finding and receiving appropriate reproductive health care.
"Many fight stigma and are afraid to ask for help in regards to sex and reproductive care," Choimorrow told HuffPost. "For this gynecologist to take advantage of these vulnerable young girls is horrible and completely unethical."
Asian women have long been stereotyped and objectified as "exotic" or "submissive" geisha. They are constantly dehumanized, Choimorrow explained, and their fetishization contributes to the culture of rape and encourages sexual assault.
"It is a sick thought that this doctor has attacked Asian international students because he thought they were naive and did not know what to expect during these appointments," he said.
"It is a sick thought that this doctor could have attacked international Asian students because he believed they were naive and did not know what to expect during these appointments",
Sung Yeon Choimorrow
The university only suspended Tyndall in 2016, after a nurse filed numerous complaints with the school's crisis center for rape, prompting an internal investigation that found her behavior could considered sexual harassment.
According to Tyndall, school officials offered him a separation agreement that would allow him to resign, with compensation for dismissal, instead of being fired. Initially he resisted, but finally accepted the deal for an undisclosed amount, according to the Los Angeles Times.
USC did not alert its students or the university community about Tyndall's behavior and did not send a complaint to the California Medical Board until Tyndall requested reintegration earlier this year, the Times reported. The board, however, renewed its license in January.
Tyndall defended his methods and denied making any offensive comments, and told the Times that he intends to continue practicing medicine in his 80s. "When I'm on my deathbed," the 71-year-old singer told the outlet, "I want to think that there are thousands and thousands of Trojan women whose health made a difference."
Prior to the Times report, USC President Max Nikias issued a letter to the university community in which he stated that independent criminal law experts said that Tyndall's conduct "was not a criminal matter" during the internal investigation of 2016.
USC also blamed the former executive director of the health center, Dr. Lawrence Neinstein (who died in 2016) for the way the school addressed the complaints. "Instead of raising these complaints for proper investigation, the former director's notes indicated that in each case he took steps to address Tyndall's behavior independently, including in some cases discussing complaints with patients, conducting mapping reviews. of Tyndall's clinical practice and external experts review their clinical practices, "the university said in a press release.
Since then, Chinese officials have learned of the report, expressing concern for the international students who were affected. The Consulate General of China in Los Angeles issued a statement asking USC to take appropriate measures.
"We ask the USC authorities to handle the case in a serious manner, carry out an immediate investigation and take concrete measures to protect Chinese students and academics on campus from being harmed," the statement said. "The consulate has always attached great importance to the security and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens abroad, including Chinese students and academics."
On Tuesday, the university established a hotline and a website so that people with additional information could report their concerns. By the next night, the school had already received more than 85 complaints.
Need help? Visit RAINN National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or National Resource Center about Sexual Violence website .