(LOS ANGELES) -- Former University of Southern California gynecologist George Tyndall was arrested on Wednesday in the wake of allegations levied by hundreds of former students who claimed he sexually assaulted them under the guise of medical care.
Tyndall, who has been accused of molesting more than 400 female patients over his decades-long career at the university, was arrested at his California apartment on felony sexual assault charges Wednesday morning, authorities said.
The former campus doctor was charged with 18 counts of sexual penetration and 11 counts of sexual battery by fraud for “sexually assaulting 16 young women over the course of seven years while he worked as a gynecologist at the University of Southern California,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a statement Wednesday.
“Tyndall is accused of sexually assaulting 16 female students at a campus health center. The victims, who range in age from 17 to 29, went to the facility for annual exams or for other treatment,” prosecutors said in a statement, adding the alleged incidents took place between 2009 and 2016.
Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department have previously said the scope of their investigation spans more than three decades.
Tyndall, 72, resigned from his position in 2017.
His arrest came in the wake of several lawsuits filed against both Tyndall and the university. One of the suits claimed USC ignored complaints that Tyndall allegedly made crude remarks, took inappropriate photographs and groped patients to "satisfy his own prurient desires."
A federal judge recently granted preliminary approval to a $215 million class-action settlement for former patients, according to university, which has agreed to pay the women. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately 17,000 students who received women’s health services during Tyndall's tenure would each be eligible to receive between $2,500 and $250,000. The amount would depend on the severity of the alleged misconduct and the women’s willingness to offer written statements "detailing their experience of Dr. Tyndall’s conduct, the personal impact, and any injury they wish to be considered," the university said.
Former University of Southern California President Max Nikias stepped down last summer amid criticism over how he handled the accusations against Tyndall.
USC Interim President Wanda Austin said she hopes Tyndall's arrest helps to bring together the campus community.
“We care deeply about our community and our top priority continues to be the wellbeing of our students, health center patients and university community,” Austin said in a statement. “We hope this arrest will be a healing step for former patients and our entire university.”
Tyndall could face as many as 53 years in state prison if convicted as charged. Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at more than $2 million.
Tyndalls' attorneys, Leonard Levine and Andrew Flier, said he denies the allegations.
“After a year of being tried in the press, Dr. Tyndall looks forward to having his case adjudicated in a court of law where the truth will finally prevail,” they said in a statement. “He remains adamant he will then be totally exonerated.”
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