At least 177 male students were sexually abused from 1978 to 1998 by now-deceased Dr. Richard Strauss, according to a report released today by Ohio State University. Strauss was a team doctor for 16 sports and worked in Student Health Services during his tenure at Ohio State. What the report also states: university officials were aware of Strauss’ behavior, but did little to investigate or stop him.
Amidst allegations against Strauss, Ohio State removed him from his roles in 1996 and reported his actions to the State Medical Board of Ohio. The university did not, however, report Strauss’ conduct to law enforcement. Strauss was allowed to retire with emeritus status in 1998. It has been reported the university plans to revoke his emeritus honor.
The 2018 investigation launched into Strauss’ actions, which included molestation, involved interviews with over 440 former students and staff. Commonly reported was the belief Strauss’ behavior was an open secret of which university personnel were aware.
“The findings of the report have shaken us to our core,” Board of Trustees Chair Michael J. Gasser said in a statement. “The university is committed to supporting the safety and well-being of our entire community. The lessons of the past will continue to inform our efforts today and well into the future.”
Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, is yet another person in a position of authority in a university setting who’s used that role to commit sexual abuse. Similar offenders who’ve been focused on in the media include Michigan State University gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who’s currently serving a life sentence for molesting at least 250 women and girls, former University of Southern California (USC) gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall, who was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting hundreds of women during his three decades with the university.
Lawsuits in all three cases have been filed, with some settlements in place, other cases entering mediation.
As for Ohio State, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is investigating Ohio State’s responsiveness to student complaints.
Ohio State President Michael V. Drake released a message today stating, “On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse. Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”
Ohio State’s Strauss Investigation Website
Articles from Ohio State University’s Office of the President and News Site: https://compliance.osu.edu/strauss-investigation.html
NPR: USC Faces Lawsuits, Calls For Resignation Over Alleged Sexual Abuse By Gynecologist
AP News Sites Larry Nassar portal