This story was reported by the Beacon Project, a student journalism initiative supported by the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to report on USC. It is independent of the university administration. Mark Schoofs, one of the project’s founders, is also an adviser to BuzzFeed News.
Year after year, for more than 20 years, young men who entered the University of Southern California student health center were sent to Dr. Dennis Kelly. Once the exam room door closed behind them, say 48 former patients who are gay or bisexual, Kelly subjected them to sexual abuse, such as fondling their genitals or making them kneel naked on the exam table for rectal probes. One man recalled that Kelly, without warning, inserted a metal instrument into his anus, then leaned forward and whispered, “How often do you let your partner cum in you?”
The men — all USC students at the time — were as young as 18, often struggling to accept their sexuality or uncomfortable discussing their sex lives.
At least five men say they complained to the university — far more than the single instance that has been previously reported — including one who described meeting face-to-face with the director of the health center specifically to warn her about Kelly. In addition, a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that USC’s administration received even more complaints about the doctor’s inappropriate behavior with patients in the four years before Kelly departed USC in July 2018. Fifty former patients are now suing USC and Kelly, who has maintained that he always treated patients appropriately.
USC is already reeling from multiple high-profile scandals, including the nationwide admissions scam in which wealthy and high-profile parents were accused of paying bribes and committing fraud to get their children admitted. Now the claims that USC was repeatedly warned about Kelly raise sharp questions about how the university investigated threats to its students' well-being, and whether it has done more to protect its own reputation than the safety of its community members. Read more via Buzzfeed