LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With the announcement of federal corruption charges against Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and a former dean at the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, the university’s scandal-plagued reputation has taken another hit.
The federal indictment of one of Los Angeles’ most prominent figures in city politics is not the first scandal tied to USC. The prestigious college has been linked to a handful of headline-making fiascos dating back years, several of which occurred over the last decade.
“He took pictures of me in 1990…and it was very disturbing,” Audry Nafziger, a sexual abuse survivor, said.
In March of this year, the university agreed to pay more than $1 billion to patients of then-campus gynecologist George Tyndall, who was accused of assaulting and victimizing hundreds of women, some of whom spoke out against him in court. An attorney for some of the women pointed the finger at the school, saying officials knew of the abuse as far back as 1990, but did not do enough to stop it.
That scandal cost USC President Max Nikias his job.
The former dean of USC’s School of Medicine, Dr. Carmen Puliafito, resigned in 2016 after a scandal linking him to a 21-year-old prostitute’s overdose in a Pasadena hotel room. Part of that incident was allegedly chronicled in a 911 call.
Puliafito raised more than $1 billion for USC. The university was accused of ignoring his drug abuse on campus and even in the operating room for years.
Most recently, in 2019, the college admissions scandal, referred to as “Operation Varsity Blues,” drew attention from around the world.
Wealthy and influential parents were charged for working with a fixer to bribe college officials to allow their child to attend the school, some fraudulently posing their children as athletes.
Actress Laurie Loughlin served two months in prison and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Gianulli, also spent time behind bars.
Five former USC athletics employees were indicted in federal court in the wake of that scandal. The university said it was shocked and saddened by the news and promised to bring change.
Carol Folt became the university’s twelfth president in 2019 and she promised to change college’s culture for the better. She will now have to face another scandal linked to the university.