Bustle magazine has published a moving opinion piece written by USC alumna Shannon O’Conner, one of the thousands of women who allegedly suffered sexual abuse by the former head gynecologist at the USC student health center. Ms. O’Conner, a television producer in Los Angeles, recounts the sense of relief she felt after Tyndall was charged with 29 felonies in June 2019.
“When I read the news about his arrest, it wasn’t just memories of my 1993 appointment with Tyndall — my living nightmare — that came rushing back. So too did my commitment to ensure that this never happens again at USC. My once beloved university failed to protect me and my fellow survivors, so we must demand institutional change. That is why the class action settlement I’ve fought for is just as important as the criminal charges,” she said.
O’Conner finds it reassuring that the toxic culture that hid Tyndall in plain sight for decades is finally being broken down, and that real and permanent reforms are being built up in its place, including an independent women’s health advocate on campus; stringent background checks, training, and monitoring of health center employees; and procedures for preventing and reporting potential abuse or harassment.
In addition to the comprehensive institutional changes USC has agreed to make, O’Conner makes it clear how important it is that the university is being held financially accountable by being made to pay $215 million to the women who were put in harm’s way. She also expresses her deep support for the recent settlement of the federal class action lawsuit against USC and Tyndall filed on behalf of female students and former students, noting, “I am proud that the settlement acknowledges and compensates everyone who saw Tyndall for women’s health services at USC. Importantly, class members can get an automatic payment or choose to participate in a confidential claims process. I didn’t have a choice about seeing Tyndall and being violated. The settlement provides private, compassionate options for women to obtain a measure of relief.”
O’Conner concludes, “Tyndall’s arrest reminds me that the settlement was never meant to be a standalone solution. It takes the parallel tracks of the criminal and civil justice systems working together to hold wrongdoers, whether individuals or institutions, accountable. I will continue to fight to ensure that USC compensates survivors and makes the necessary changes to put the safety of its students above all else. This is a goal worth fighting for.”
Contact Sexual Abuse Lawyer Annika K. Martin at Lieff Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin, herself an alumnus of USC’s law school, is leading the litigation for our firm on behalf of women who suffered violence, abuse, and harassment by George Tyndall and USC. She is a partner in the firm’s New York office and has represented plaintiffs since 2005 in environmental, mass tort, consumer protection, and sexual abuse cases. She can be reached at email@example.com or 800-541-7358. There is no charge or obligation for your outreach, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence.