Claims alleging acts of sexual abuse against individuals within the confines of prominent institutions across the United States are mounting at an alarming rate. Institutional sexual abuse occurs when an employee or agent of an institution sexually assaults a student, patient, resident, detainee or inmate. These acts can involve sexual violence, rape, inappropriate sexual comments, indecent exposure or the unwanted sharing of sexual content (e.g. photos, videos, emails, and texts).
Institutional sexual misconduct most often occurs at these locations:
- Schools and Universities
- Medical treatment centers
- Sports organizations
- Day care facilities
- Senior centers
- Summer camps
Abusers within institutions are usually in positions of power and authority—such as professors, physicians, and clergy members. The respect that often accompanies these positions is used against the victim by the abuser to betray and manipulate them. Below are two prominent examples of recognized institutional abuse.
University of Southern California (USC):
Hundreds of female students at the University of Southern California (“USC”) have come forward with allegations against Dr. George Tyndall—a physician who served as a gynecologist at the USC student health center from January 1, 1988, to January 1, 2017. Reports of sexual abuse over nearly two decades involve varying allegations—from sexually explicit remark and the commission of pelvic exams that were not clinically indicated to groping and inappropriate touching of patients’ genitals. Some survivors have reported that nurses, who were present in the room during inappropriate exams, left the exam room because they felt “uncomfortable.” Documents and records reflect that many of these instances of abuse were not reported by the nurse.
In October 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law providing victims of Dr. Tyndall’s sexual abuse an additional one-year window to file a claim against USC. The law applies to claims seeking more than $250,000 and alleging accounts of sexual assault or inappropriate sexual behavior during treatment at the USC student health center. A sperate claim can be made against USC for failing to investigate or report instances of sexual assault.
Ohio State University (OSU):
An investigation into former Ohio State University (“OSU”) team doctor, Dr. Richard Strauss, resulted in more than 1,500 separate allegations of sexual assault by former students. The claims against Dr. Strauss date back to 1979 and involve both male and female students alleging inappropriate touching and/or rape.
To make matters worse, the investigation revealed that several prior students had filed official complaints against Dr. Strauss with coaches, trainers, and athletic department officials alleging sexual misconduct; yet, OSU took no corrective action against Dr. Strauss. Recently, a lawsuit was filed against OSU alleging that the institution was aware of Dr. Strauss’s longstanding history of abuse on OSU grounds, but OSU took no action and in fact, affirmatively concealed the misconduct.
Slater Slater Schulman LLP is dedicated to the confidential representation of individuals sexually abused in an institutional setting. If you or someone you love has suffered this form of abuse and wishes to file a claim, please contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP for a free, confidential consultation by filling out the form on this page or by calling our office at (800) 251-6990.