Dr. George Tyndall, the USC gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct by hundreds of women, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he abused 16 patients over the course of his decades-long career at the campus health center.
Tyndall made his first appearance in court since he was arrested and charged with 29 felonies last week, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 72-year-old appeared with “matted and uncombed hair,” wearing a blue suicide prevention vest despite his attorney telling reporters that “he’s not suicidal whatsoever.”
The felonies described in a criminal filing detail allegations from 16 women between the ages of 17 and 29, from the years 2009 to 2016. As of now, Tyndall is charged with 18 counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, though the Times reports that,
As explained in the filing, the charge relates not to the alleged victims’ state of wakefulness, but instead their lack of understanding of the gynecologist’s motivations, specifically that he had “no professional purpose” in touching them during pelvic exams.
Additionally, Tyndall faces 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud for touching an “intimate part” of a patient “for the purpose of sexual arousal” and under the guise of a “professional purpose,” according to the criminal filing.
The felonies combined carry a possible prison term of up to 53 years. Tyndall’s attorney, Andrew Flier, also requested that the judge lower Tyndall’s $2.075 million bail, though the judge responded that there was no clear reason to do so.
USC Interim President Wanda M. Austin released a statement on Wednesday saying the university has been cooperating with the LAPD and District Attorney’s Office investigations, “and will continue to do so:”
“We care deeply about our community and our top priority continues to be the wellbeing of our students, health center patients and university community,” she said. “We hope this arrest will be a healing step for former patients and our entire university.”
Still, several lawsuits have been filed against USC, which kept Tyndall on staff even as women filed complaints against him as far back as 2000.