Gay Former Students Sue USC, Sexual Health Physician - NBC Southern California

Gay Former Students Sue USC, Sexual Health Physician

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    A statue of the school mascot, the Trojan, stands on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC).

    What to Know

    • A half-dozen gay and bisexual men are suing USC and a physician.

    • The plaintiffs allege the doctor discriminated against and battered them while serving as the only full-time men's sexual health doctor.

    • The suit's allegations include sexual battery, gender violence, sexual harassment, negligence and fraud.

    A half-dozen gay and bisexual men are suing USC and a physician, alleging he discriminated against and battered them while serving as the only full-time men's sexual health doctor at the Student Health Center.

    The plaintiffs are former USC students identified only as John Does in the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Monday against the university and Dr. Dennis A. Kelly. The suit's allegations include sexual battery, gender violence, sexual harassment, negligence and fraud.

    A USC representative released a statement saying the university is "aware of the lawsuit and are concerned by its allegations."

    "We're working to understand the facts of this matter," the statement reads. "We care deeply about our entire Trojan family, including our LGBTQ community and take this matter very seriously. We will provide more information as it's available."

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    The suit alleges Kelly shamed and humiliated the plaintiffs for engaging in sexual acts with men, questioning their sexual history and using "demeaning and derogatory" terms.

    "Plaintiffs are informed and believed, and thereon allege, that Dr. Kelly was targeting the gay and bisexual and male student population, all of whom were young adults and many of whom were visiting the doctor without a parent for the first time," the suit says.

    The plaintiffs allege they were subjected to "intrusive and medically unnecessary rectal examinations."

    "Dr. Kelly did not treat heterosexual men in a similar manner and did not ... perform rectal examinations on heterosexual men who had similar sexual practices," the suit alleges.

    Kelly, who retired last year after working about 20 years at the campus clinic, told the Los Angeles Times that he was blindsided by the lawsuit and denied the allegations, which he said were "terribly hurtful."

    'I can't second-guess or question anything I've done," the 72-year- old physician told the newspaper on Tuesday. "I know I did it all professionally and without any other motive."

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    According to the lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs, who was born in 1989 and was a USC undergraduate student from 2009-11, was told by Kelly that his sexual practices "put him at high risk for diseases."

    Kelly also asked the plaintiff if he "watched Internet porn" or if he "hooked up" with people online, according to the complaint.

    Another plaintiff, who was born in 1992 and attended undergraduate classes from 2010-14, alleges that Kelly asked him whether he used sex toys and condoms. Kelly refused to give the plaintiff a robe while he was undressing and was told by the doctor that it was "just us" and that Kelly was "going to see it anyway," the suit states.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, the plaintiffs did not formally report Kelly to USC, nor did they contact police. Another former physician at USC's Engemann Student Health Center, Dr. George Tyndall, is also the subject of litigation brought on behalf of several hundred women who have accused him of sexual abuse during his three-decade tenure as the clinic's only full-time gynecologist, leading the university to agree last fall to a $215 million class-action settlement.

    Plaintiffs in multiple lawsuits allege USC protected its own reputation and financial interests by not only granting Tyndall, 71, unfettered sexual access to female students and actively concealing complaints of his sexual abuse, but by paying him a financial settlement so that he would resign.

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