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Sexual Abuse – Dr. Richard Strauss and the Ohio State University

Sexual Abuse – Dr. Richard Strauss and the Ohio State University

Ohio State University (OSU) team doctor Richard Strauss was accused of sexually abusing at least 177 male students from 1979 to 1996.  Victims of Dr. Strauss’s sexual abuse included athletes from at least 15 sports teams as well other students who visited him at the school’s student health center and off-campus clinic.  A report commissioned by the University included 600 interviews with 520 subjects detailing sexual abuse by Strauss. 

Dr. Strauss was employed by OSU from 1978 to 1998.  He was temporarily suspended by the University in January 1996 after he was accused of fondling a patient during a genital exam.  However, Strauss stayed in his position as a tenured faculty member and retired voluntarily years later.  He committed suicide in 2005.

Male students who sought treatment from Strauss reported that he conducted unnecessary genital exams when the patient’s complaints did not warrant such exams. The abusive activity included fondling patients to erection and requesting that patients strip naked to evaluate an unrelated condition. The students who were members of the wrestling team experienced the highest incidence of sexual abuse.  

According to a report, the University was informed about Dr. Strauss’ activities numerous times during his tenure. The school had knowledge of Strauss’s abuse going back to 1979, but claims about his conduct did not progress beyond the athletics department until 1996.  The majority of the report detailing the abuse focused on the extent of the University’s knowledge of the abuse and whether the school took action when abuse was reported by Strauss’ victims.  Many students believe that Strauss’ actions were well known to coaches, trainers and other staff associated with team sports at the University.  For example, the report stated that the athletics department was aware that Strauss showered along with the student athletes, sometimes as often as six times a day.  Indeed, twenty-two coaches interviewed in the report admitted to hearing rumors or being aware of complaints pertaining to Strauss. Teachers, administrators and coaches who had knowledge of Strauss’ actions did not report the abuse internally or to local law enforcement.

Inexplicably, the State Medical Board of Ohio conducted an investigation of Strauss, but never took disciplinary action against him.  Investigating officials recently reported that, for reasons that cannot be determined, the inquiry into Strauss’s actions ended without any disciplinary action despite evidence of wrongdoing in 1996.  Both OSU and the medical board knowingly failed to properly address allegations in the face of clear evidence that abuse had occurred.  As a result of this pattern of blatant neglect, the state has decided to investigate allegations of sexual abuse that ended without disciplinary action that date back 25 years.  The Medical Board has since vowed not to allow investigations to become dormant with no enforcement action taken.      

Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse.  If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual misconduct by a doctor, medical professional or hospital employee, please contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submitting an email inquiry on this page.  

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