Ohio State University OSU has reached a monetary settlement with some victims sexually abused by a doctor. The plaintiffs involved sued the university over sexual abuse by deceased university physician Richard Strauss. OSU did not state how much of a financial award the plaintiffs would receive on an individual basis, but it will be “based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor,” according to The Daily Record.
The university did not disclose the exact number of plaintiffs involved in the settlement.
More than 360 plaintiffs have filed 18 lawsuits against OSU over the sexual abuse and the university’s lack of action.
It is possible that more lawsuits may be filed before the deadline of April 14, 2020.
What Happened at Ohio State University Between 1979 and 1997
Dr. Richard Strauss was the team doctor from 1979 to 1997 for a dozen of OSU’s male athletic teams. He was accused of more than 1,500 instances of sexual assault. Many male student-athletes spoke about the doctor’s behavior to university athletic and medical staff, but OSU refused to remove Strauss or take disciplinary action.
In a 2018 report, the university reported 992 instances of fondling and 30 allegations of rape. By 2019, Ohio State reported over 1,500 instances of sexual assault by the team doctor. The actual number of sexual assault instances may be higher, but victims are often reluctant to report them.
Accusations Against Richard Strauss
Ohio State University required male athletes to submit to a physical conducted by Dr. Strauss before being allowed to compete on the university’s sports teams. While a physical examination is usually required to make sure that collegiate athletes can withstand rigorous training and sports activities, Dr. Strauss violated professional and ethical standards during these routine exams.
Some of the alleged misconduct reported by athletes include:
- Strauss demanded that male students be nude for standard exams, which was not medically necessary.
- Strauss inappropriately touched or handled male students’ genitals.
- Strauss exhibited lewd behavior in the male locker room and shower facilities.
- Strauss groped male student wrestlers.
- Strauss photographed male student-athletes’ genitals.
Dr. Strauss served as the team doctor for many of OSU’s male sports teams, including swimming and diving, wrestling, fencing, lacrosse, and gymnastics. He was also a professor at OSU’s College of Medicine.
OSU Refused to Act Despite Knowledge of Alleged Sexual Abuse
Male student-athletes at OSU had an unfavorable nickname for Richard Strauss: “Dr. Jellypaws.” News of Dr. Strauss’s alleged misconduct was common knowledge in the locker rooms and conversations between members of the male sports teams that were under his domain.
Even when several male students spoke to university officials about Dr. Strauss, OSU did nothing to protect the hundreds of young men who became prey to their team doctor. Finally, after two decades and many allegations and reports of sexual assault and abuse, Dr. Strauss was let go by the university in 1997, and he passed away by suicide in 2005.
If You Were a Male Student Athlete at OSU Between 1979 and 1997
Dr. Strauss was a team doctor for a dozen male sports at OSU for two decades. It is possible that there are more unreported incidents of sexual assault or abuse.
If you or a loved one was a student-athlete at OSU and had a physical exam by Richard Strauss at any time between 1979 and 1997, we want to hear your story.
Sexual assault, particularly when the predator is an authority figure like a physician, is incredibly damaging to your emotional and physical health. It is not your fault. You did not deserve to become a victim of Richard Strauss or the negligence of the Ohio State University staff and trustees.
We Can Help You
Our sexual assault lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC can help you recover damages and justice for this terrible ordeal. We represent other plaintiffs who also were victims of Richard Strauss and the university’s failure to act. Our lawyers have also helped victims of sexual assault at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC).
You have legal rights that include the right to file a lawsuit to seek damages and justice. You are not alone. We would be honored to fight for you and pursue the financial recovery you deserve.
Please Contact Our Firm Today
The courts have imposed a deadline of April 14, 2020, for additional lawsuits against OSU. You have a limited amount of time to act. Please call D. Miller & Associates, PLLC today for a free case evaluation. Our lawyers can help you recover damages on a contingency basis. Call us at (713) 850-8600 today.