21 gay and bisexual students at the University of Southern California are suing a university physician for sexual misconduct.
NBC Los Angeles reports that Dr. Dennis Kelly is the subject of the joint lawsuit. The suit claims that Kelly allegedly asked the students to take off their clothes and performed unnecessary rectal exams while making inappropriate comments. The doctor did so after learning that the students had engaged in sexual acts with other men.
Unfortunately, these men were told that Kelly was the campus’s only men’s health physician when they tried to switch doctors.
On February 11, six plaintiffs came forward to sue Kelly. 15 men came forward later to join the suit, according to ABC affiliate KABC-TV. 19 of the men have chosen to be anonymous while two have given their names. The updated lawsuit, which was filed this past Tuesday, then says:
"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.”
"Despite receiving repeated complaints regarding Dr. Kelly's misconduct, USC actively and deliberately failed to investigate, discipline, or address Dr. Kelly's sexually abusive and discriminatory behavior and instead, continued to employ Dr. Kelly for years, allowing him unencumbered access to sexually abuse, harass, and discriminate against Plaintiffs and other male gay and bisexual USC students in his care,” the suit says.
Kelly Van Aken, the lawyer representing the 21 student said the following on the matter:
"The acts performed by Dr. Kelly included asking young men to disrobe in front of him without providing any privacy or covering and asking them to climb onto an examination table with their bare buttocks in the air and then anally penetrated them which he insisted was a necessary part of their examinations.”
He later added, "I think primarily our students and former students are looking for accountability from the university and from Dr. Kelly, frankly, to acknowledge that what happened to them was not OK and to put policies and procedures in place to make sure this doesn't happen again.”
In reaction to this lawsuit, the University of Southern California released the following statement:
"We are working across the university to understand the facts. We care deeply about our entire Trojan family including our LGBTQ+ community and take this matter very seriously."