USC settles lawsuits with 80 men who accused doctor of sexual misconduct

Category: Civil Rights

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The University of Southern California settled lawsuits with 80 former students, many of them gay men, who accused a campus doctor of sexual misconduct over the course of two decades, officials said Friday.

The resolution marks a key point in holding USC “accountable for its failure to protect” students from Dr. Dennis Kelly, according to attorney Mikayla Kellogg, whose firm represented 57 of the 80 male plaintiffs.

Kelly was fired by USC in 2018 and lost his license to practice in 2020.

“The settlement was achieved through the persistence and bravery of our clients who had the strength to come forward to share the harrowing details of their experiences at the USC Student Health Center and the determination to hold USC accountable for its failure to protect its students,” Kellogg said in a statement.

Kelly was accused of asking inappropriate questions of students and subjected many to needlessly invasive procedures, such as rectal examinations.

The abuse started shortly after he arrived at USC in 1997 and spanned nearly his entire career on the Los Angeles campus, a spokesman for the plaintiffs said.

Of the 80 plaintiffs, all are men and 76 identify as gay.

“The settlement today is another step toward closure for our clients who finally feel a sense of recognition and validation for speaking up,” Kellogg said.

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