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    Cause of death deferred for disgraced USC gynecologist as alleged victims seek full autopsy
    • October 12, 2023


    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Thursday that it performed an examination of George Tyndall, the former USC campus gynecologist who was found dead at his home last week while awaiting trial for alleged sexual misconduct with 16 patients.

    “An examination was performed, and the cause of death has been deferred,” a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner’s Office told City News Service, while adding that “no autopsy was done.”

    “An external exam includes looking for any external signs of trauma,” according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. “Based on the examination and the circumstances surrounding the death, an autopsy may be required to determine the cause and manner of death.

    “Cases are deferred when the deputy medical examiner is requesting further investigation/studies into the death. Due to the ongoing death investigation, the department cannot disclose what is being conducted, nor a time frame of when the case will be closed,” according to the coroner’s office.

    The office issued a statement last week saying it did not plan to perform an autopsy, because “there was a history of natural disease that explains Mr. Tyndall’s sudden death with no suspicious circumstances for foul play, suicide or toxins playing a role in his death.”

    The 76-year-old man’s body was subsequently moved to the coroner’s office on Monday.

    The decision not to perform a full autopsy angered attorneys for some of Tyndall’s alleged victims, who said they were being denied closure regarding his death after also being denied the chance to see him brought to trial.

    Tyndall was found dead Oct. 4 in his Los Angeles condominium by a friend who had been unable to reach him. Tyndall was awaiting trial on sex-related charges involving patients who accused him of inappropriate behavior under the guise of medical exams.

    Tyndall and his attorneys have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

    Tyndall was ordered Aug. 11 to stand trial on 18 felony counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person — charges that allege the women were “unconscious of the nature of the act” and that it served “no professional purpose” — along with nine felony counts of sexual battery by fraud.

    The criminal complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between 2009 and 2016.

    The women had gone to USC’s student health center for annual examinations or other treatment while Tyndall was working there.

    Eight charges involving five other women were dismissed earlier because four of them opted not to proceed and one could not be contacted.

    Attorney John Manly, who represents a number of alleged Tyndall victims, issued a statement last week blasting the decision not to perform an autopsy, saying authorities “refused to properly investigate his death” by quickly declaring it “natural causes.”

    “This refusal to properly investigate Tyndall’s cause of death allows him to get away with his decades of horrific abuse, and leaves hundreds of women without answers,” Manly said.

    One of Tyndall’s attorneys, Leonard Levine, told City News Service that his client “desperately wanted to go to trial and that’s where the issues of guilt or innocence should be resolved.” He said his client had planned to testify and “declare his innocence.”

    Tyndall’s defense team will seek the dismissal of the case once a copy of his death certificate is available, Levine said.

    Tyndall had been set to appear Friday at a hearing in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. The defense had been planning to ask the judge then to lower Tyndall’s $1.3 million bail to $250,000 and to free him from electronic monitoring, given the dismissal of the eight charges involving five other women.

    In March 2021, attorneys representing hundreds of women who claim they were sexually abused by Tyndall announced an $852 million settlement of lawsuits against USC, describing the resolution as the largest of its type ever against a university.

    In January 2020, a federal judge in Los Angeles granted final approval of a $215 million class-action settlement between USC and some of the women who claim they were sexually abused by Tyndall.

    The settlement provides all class members — about 17,000 former patients who received women’s health services from Tyndall — compensation of $2,500 and up. Patients who are willing to provide further details about their experience could be eligible for additional compensation up to $250,000.

    Attorneys for some victims have argued that following an internal investigation of complaints against Tyndall in 2016, the university paid Tyndall a substantial financial settlement so he would quietly resign.

    USC officials had repeatedly denied allegations of a cover-up relating to Tyndall and have said that in response to the scandal, new protocols were implemented at its student health center to ensure any complaints are investigated and resolved by appropriate university officials and authorities. The university also said it has hired female, board-certified physicians and introduced patient education materials about sensitive examinations.

    After the March 2021 settlement, USC President Carol Folt released a statement in which she said, “I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community. We appreciate the courage of all who came forward and hope this much-needed resolution provides some relief to the women abused by George Tyndall.”

    Tyndall surrendered his medical license in September 2019, according to records from the Medical Board of California.

    ​ Orange County Register