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Chinese government has 'serious concerns' about USC gynecologist and allegations of misconduct against students

Paul Pringle, Matt Hamilton, Harriet Ryan And Melissa Etehad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- The Chinese government has expressed "serious concerns" over revelations that a gynecologist at USC's student health clinic was allowed to continue treating students despite repeated allegations of misconduct with patients, including many from China.

A statement by the Chinese Consulate issued late Wednesday came a day after a Times investigation detailed years of complaints in which patients and colleagues accused Dr. George Tyndall of making sexually suggestive remarks and touching patients inappropriately.

University staffers told The Times that Tyndall's behavior was often trained on international students from China and other Asian countries -- drawing the interest of local diplomats.

"We ask the USC authorities to deal with the case in a serious manner, conduct an immediate investigation and take concrete measures to protect the Chinese students and scholars on campus from being harmed," said Gao Fei, a spokesperson for the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles. "The consulate has all along attached great importance to the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens overseas, including Chinese students and scholars."

A USC spokesperson did not immediately respond to the consulate's statement.

The Times' report showed how the university allowed Tyndall to continue treating students despite the complaints and eventually agreed to a secret deal that let the physician quietly resign. His resignation took effect June 30, 2017.

The university didn't inform Tyndall's patients or report him at the time to the state Medical Board. USC said it belatedly filed a complaint with the board in March.

As the newspaper was preparing to publish the article, USC President C.L. Max Nikias issued an apology this week to students, staff and alumni, noting that his two daughters attended the university and calling Tyndall's conduct "a shameful betrayal of our values."

The university acknowledged Wednesday that Nikias learned of the complaints against Tyndall late last fall.

Late Wednesday, USC Provost Michael Quick and the university's senior vice president of administration, Todd R. Dickey, sent the "USC community" a new public statement saying that 85 students had contacted a hotline the university set up for former patients to report their experiences with Tyndall. The university offered counseling for students or former students.

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