USC women share allegations of sexual abuse by school's former gynecologist


Five women who say they were sexually abused by former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall spoke to TODAY about how he allegedly preyed on their vulnerabilities, and how their complaints to the school went unheard.

USC graduates Allison Rowland, Shernae Hughes, Audry Nafzeiger, Kellyna Fox and Lucy Chi, who range in age from 21 to 53, spoke with Natalie Morales on Thursday about Tyndall.

"I really hope that by speaking out, that people will rise and know they're not alone and we don't have to keep this secret,'' said Nafzeiger, who got a law degree from USC and is now a sex crimes prosecutor. 

"I kept this secret for a long time. They don't have to keep this secret."

Tyndall, who is facing a host of lawsuits from numerous women, was USC's only full-time gynecologist from 1989 until he was fired last year following an internal investigation. 

NBC News repeatedly tried to reach Tyndall for comment and received no response. Tyndall insisted to The Los Angeles Times last month that he did nothing wrong.

He is estimated to have treated more than 10,000 women during his tenure, many of whom have similar stories of abuse.

Nafzeiger said he took pictures of her during a gynecological exam, and Fox said he had her fully undress while a nurse was behind a curtain and they were alone.

"While I was in the stirrups, he told me I was beautiful," Chi said.

Many of the women like Hughes and Fox were still teenagers and visiting a gynecologist for the first time when they went to Tyndall.

Fox said Tyndall told her when she was 18 that if she wanted to be on birth control, she had to have a pap smear exam, while Rowland and Nafzeiger said he falsely told them they had sexually-transmitted diseases.

Police are investigating more than 100 criminal complaints, but no criminal charges have been filed against Tyndall at this time. The Medical Board of California confirmed it is also actively investigating claims of sexual misconduct, but as of now Tyndall is still able to practice medicine. 

"He diagnosed me with HPV,'' Rowland said. "There's no physical evidence in my body that I had a disease. He lied."

"I thought this was his style and I thought maybe I'm just uncomfortable with his style,'' Chi said. "It wasn't his style - he was a sexual predator and he sexually molested me, along with thousands of women."

Hughes, who graduated last year, filed a written complaint with the school in 2016. Rowland and Fox say they expressed their concerns to nurses but none of their accusations were addressed.

More than 400 women have reached out to USC since a May report by The Los Angeles Times about Tyndall's alleged behavior and the university's lack of response. USC had conducted an internal investigation, finding there was no criminal activity, and didn't contact the police until after the Times report was published. 

Women have accused Tyndall of taking photos of their genitals, making lewd and racist remarks, groping their breasts and performing unnecessary digital exams.

USC president Max Nikias resigned last month in the wake of the scandal, sending an email to the student body saying in part, "On behalf of the university, I sincerely apologize to any student who may have visited the student health center and did not receive the respectful care each individual deserves."

MORE: USC president C.L. Max Nikias steps down

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11: USC President C. L. Max Nikias at The University of Southern California's commencement ceremony that took place morning of Friday, May 11, on the University Park Campus. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pioneering oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee will deliver the commencement address. Mukherjee, Charlie Beck, Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., Jennifer A. Doudna and Forest Whitaker received honorary degrees.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11: School President of USC CL Max Nikias attends The University Of Southern California's Commencement Ceremony at Alumni Park at USC on May 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12: President of the University of Southern California C.L. Max Nikias presents Helen Mirren with an Honorary Doctorate Degree during the University Of Southern California 134th Commencement Ceremonies at The Shrine Auditorium on May 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29: Max Nikias and�Niki Nikias'nattend The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Annual Gala at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on April 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kathryn Page/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***�Max Nikias;Niki Nikias
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: C. L. Max Nikias, president of USC watches the game against the UCLA Bruins with athletic director Lynn Swann at Galen Center on January 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 08: (L-R) USC president C. L. Max Nikias, tv personality Willow Bay and chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger attend Ambassadors for Humanity Gala Benefiting USC Shoah Foundation at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on December 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 08: President of the University of Southern California, C.L. Max Nikias speaks onstage Ambassadors for Humanity Gala Benefiting USC Shoah Foundation at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on December 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 08: (L-R) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger, USC president C. L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias, dean, USC Dornsife, Amber Miller and Jonathan T. D. Neil attend Ambassadors for Humanity Gala Benefiting USC Shoah Foundation at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on December 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 11: President of USC C.K Max Nikias and Niki Nikias arrive at the 3rd Biennial Rebels with a Cause Fundraiser on May 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: UNICEF Chair Ghada Irani (L) and honoree C. L. Max Nikias attend the Sixth Biennial UNICEF Ball Honoring David Beckham and C. L. Max Nikias presented by Louis Vuitton at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on January 12, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for U.S. Fund for UNICEF)
DEARBORN, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias speaks at a press conference conducted prior to the USC Shoah Foundation Ambassadors for Humanity Gala honoring William Clay Ford, Jr. at the Henry Ford Museum on September 10, 2015 in Dearborn, Michigan. (Photo by Loreen Sarkis/Getty Images for the USC Shoah Foundation)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 20: USC president C. L. Max Nikias and Niki C. Nikias attend the USC Institute of Urology 'Changing Lives And Creating Cures' Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on November 20, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic)
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"It's painful to know that our collective voices ultimately meant near nothing to USC,'' Hughes said.

The scandal follows one involving disgraced doctor Larry Nassar at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics. Michigan State agreed last month to pay survivors of Nassar's abuse $500 million in the largest settlement by a university in U.S. history.

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