On a November day in 2017, USC entered into a secret mediation agreement with the family of a young woman whose drug-fueled relationship with the former dean of the university’s medical school had engulfed the institution in scandal.
Carmen Puliafito, who was dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC during the relationship, was also a party to the agreement, which paid Sarah Warren, her brother and their parents a combined $1.5 million to head off a lawsuit by the family against him and USC, The Times has learned.
Confidential payouts to settle legal disputes are common, but one provision of the Warren pact was not, according to legal experts: To receive the money, family members had to turn over to USC all of their videos and photographs showing Puliafito using illegal drugs to allow the university to destroy them, two sources with knowledge of the agreement told The Times.
To comply with the agreement, the Warrens took their smartphones, computers and hard drives to a tech shop, where the devices were wiped clean of the videos and photos — some of which also showed him in sexual situations — along with any other material concerning Puliafito or USC, such as emails, text messages and letters, the sources said. The Times could not determine whether USC retained copies of the images and other material.
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