By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES, June 26 (Reuters) - Los Angeles police have arrested a former University of Southern California gynecologist who was under investigation for suspected sexual misconduct, an official said on Wednesday, in a case that has already resulted in a $215 million civil settlement.
Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Lizeth Lomeli confirmed George Tyndall was arrested but could not immediately release further details, including what charges he might face. Tyndall has been under investigation for months.
Hundreds of women have accused Tyndall of subjecting them to molestation, lewd comments and other sexually inappropriate behavior during medical exams at the downtown Los Angeles school's student health clinic.
The case generated widespread faculty and student outrage after allegations against Tyndall surfaced in media reports last year.
"There's been a lot of character assassination of the doctor in this case and we're really looking forward to exonerating him," attorney Andrew Flier, who represents Tyndall, said by phone.
"He's always proclaimed his innocence from day one," Flier added.
Tyndall, 71, resigned from the prestigious private university in 2017, after an internal investigation by USC, and last year authorities suspended his medical license.
He was arrested early on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, Flier said.
Flier said he believes the arrest results from criminal grand jury proceedings in the case.
A representative for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office could not immediately be reached for comment.
The USC internal investigation of Tyndall began after a health worker in 2016 accused him of making sexually inappropriate comments to patients.
A criminal investigation by Los Angeles authorities has been underway since then, even as a civil case has moved forward in federal court.
The federal court on June 13 granted preliminary approval to a $215 million settlement in the class-action civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Tyndall's former patients.
USC will pay any woman treated by Tyndall at the student health center at least $2,500, and former patients who describe harm they suffered will be eligible for up to $250,000, the university said on its website.
Some of the allegations against Tyndall date back about 30 years. USC has acknowledged failing to properly act on several complaints that were made against Tyndall between 2000 and 2014.
Tyndall's former patients accused USC of complicity and negligence in its duty to protect students.
Criticism of USC's handling of the matter led to the university's then-President C.L. Max Nikias to resign last year. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis Editing by Tom Brown)
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