University doctor Dennis Kelly settles with 80 ex-patients who accused him of abuse

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California (USC) and Dr Dennis Kelly have settled with 80 former students, mostly LGBT+, who alleged that the university doctor sexually abused them over two decades.

On Wednesday, 27 April, all parties involved in the case released a joint statement: “USC, Dr Dennis Kelly, and all plaintiffs have reached a global settlement of plaintiffs’ allegations of misconduct.

“USC and Dr Kelly both deny the allegations… All parties have mutually agreed that the details of the settlement will remain confidential. The parties hope that this amicable resolution will bring closure to the plaintiffs.”

Kelly resigned from USC in 2018, and the following year 50 of his former patients, 48 of whom were gay and bisexual men, came forwards with allegations of sexual battery, harassment, and inappropriate comments.

As the case went on, the number of plaintiffs increased to 80, of whom four were heterosexual.

The former students, who were mostly either in their late teens or early twenties, said that Kelly’s alleged abuse included “fondling their genitals or making them kneel naked on the exam table for rectal probes”, as well as asking inappropriate questions like: “How often do you let your partner cum in you?”

Mikayla Kellogg, one of the lead attorneys in the case, told the Los Angeles Times
that students had complained to the university about Kelly’s conduct “throughout the course of employment”, but added: “Despite this complaint, USC continued to allow Dr. Kelly to see students for sensitive medical exams.”

Throughout the case, Kelly and the university have denied all allegations. When the case was first filed, the former university doctor said: “I know I did it all professionally and without any other motive.”

In 2020, Kelly surrendered his medical license, but said it was unrelated to the allegations against him.

According to the Los Angeles Times, he said that he had been diagnosed with a progressive condition “that impairs his ability to practice medicine safely”.