Nearly 50 Male Students Say USC Doctor Sexually Abused Them, According to Student Journalists

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Gavel and law books

Nearly 50 former students have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by a physician long employed with the University of Southern California (USC), according to a story published yesterday by The Beacon Project, an independent student news outlet.

The Los Angeles Times reported in February that several former students had filed a lawsuit against the physician, Dennis Kelly, and USC for sexual abuse they say they suffered during exams at the student health center. Each of Kelly’s accusers are gay or bisexual men who were as young as 18 at the time of the alleged abuse.

Five men say they reported Kelly to USC but were ignored by university officials, according to The Beacon Project.

The project is a student journalism initiative supported by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to report on matters related to the university. One of its founders is an advisor for Buzzfeed News, which also published the story on Kelly’s accusers yesterday.

Kelly, who denies the allegations, worked for USC for 20 years and resigned in July 2018. He continued to work for California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where he was also employed, until officials there learned of the lawsuit filed against him in February. CSUN officials say USC failed to notify them of complaints against Kelly, according to several news sources.

The case is the latest in a series of recent scandals for USC, including accusations that another former physician sexually abused students. George Tyndall, who worked as a gynecologist in the student health center for nearly 30 years, currently faces 29 felony charges for allegedly abusing 16 women during exams. Authorities say more than 380 women have come forward with similar accusations and more charges are likely to follow, according to USA Today. USC is also accused in that case of ignoring student complaints and failing to report Tyndall to authorities. The university has offered a settlement of $215 million to women who may have been affected.

USC was also involved in multiple cases of alleged admissions fraud as part of the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. Several of the high-profile defendants in that case, including actress Lori Laughlin, are accused of bribing USC employees to get their children admitted to the university.