LOS ANGELES, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Three former Chinese students of the University of Southern California (USC) filed lawsuits against damages caused by Dr. George Tyndall, a longtime gynecologist at the university, said their attorneys in a press conference here Tuesday.
Tyndall had worked as the only full-time gynecologist at the USC student clinic for 27 years. Complaints of Tyndall's misconduct towards young female patients include improper photographing of genitals, improper touching during pelvic exams, and making sexually suggestive comments.
The lawsuits were filed by Deng Law Center, in collaboration with Girardi & Keese, an accomplished personal injury law firm based out of Los Angeles.
"This is an important case, not only to the people who were harmed, but to young people all over," said Thomas Girardi, attorney of Girardi & Keese.
"To have a university like this, to permit something like this is truly disgusting. It is a devastating situation," Girardi said.
Six women sued USC on Monday in separate lawsuits alleging that the university had failed to address the complaints against Dr. Tyndall.
"There has to be strength to fight back, making sure to help these people who have been harmed, and to tell these schools 'you better not do this again,'" Girardi said.
"Women who experienced abuse of this nature frequently have issues of intimacy in marriage and other relationships," said Alexandra Steele, another attorney of Girardi & Keese. "It is a woman's health issue too, because it makes those women less likely to go back to doctors for health screening."
According to Deng Law Center, California ended its statute of limitations on rape cases after Bill Cosby. Before 2016, the statute of limitations in California for sex crimes was just 10 years.
"It means police can pursue a case if they have enough evidence," said Daniel Deng, the founder of Deng Law Center, who called for more victims to come forward.
"There would be compensations obviously for emotional distress caused by the actions of this doctor and the university," said David Lira, attorney with Girardi & Keese. "Possibly there could be a claim inserted for punitive damages, because the conduct is outrageous, reckless and despicable."
"The university has a legal and moral duty to protect these young students. They failed to do that," Lira added.
Deng said the three former USC students from China who filed lawsuits against USC have already come home after graduation.
According to the Los Angeles Times, some colleagues of Tyndall feared that the gynecologist was targeting the university's growing population of Chinese students in recent years. Those Chinese students often had a limited knowledge of the English language and American medical norms.
The Consulate General of China in Los Angeles expressed its serious concern over the scandal last week, requesting that the university take serious steps to investigate the issue and protect Chinese students from illegal acts.
The Chinese Students and Scholars Association, a major Chinese student organization at USC, also issued a statement in the wake of the scandal, calling on Chinese students to bravely speak up against any violations of their rights.
USC officials said they are actively seeking all facts and are dedicated to providing the most compassionate support they can. "Nothing is more important to me, or to our community, than the health and safety of our students," USC President Max Nikias said in a statement.
The university has released an Action Plan, aiming to revisit the university's values, improve campus culture, restructure a number of the university's operations and revise employment policies.
The USC is a leading private research university located in Los Angeles. There are 45,500 students enrolled in the 2017-18 academic year, including around 5,400 from mainland China.