Hundreds of Ohio State alumni had their lives turned upside down last year when the University announced it would investigate allegations that a former campus doctor had raped and abused male students for nearly 20 years. In May of 2019, after spending more than $6.5 million, the University released a report by the Perkins Coie law firm showing that 177 former students were abused by Dr. Richard Strauss but worse, that dozens of Ohio State officials knew of the abuse and did nothing.
The doctor, Richard Strauss, is deceased. But the dirty little secret revealed by last year’s outing caused anxiety and pain among victims, many of whom had remained silent for decades.
They were ashamed.
Sure, there were locker room whispers about Strauss and many victims joked about calling him names like “Dr. Clean” because he showered four or five times a day with athletes.
The “guys” may have laughed it off, but we know now that Strauss was a dangerous predator who destroyed lives.
There’s ample evidence that he was a sexual abuser – our timeline shows the first complaint against him was made in 1979 – and that University officials knew about the abuse all along.
But the University did nothing to help victims back then and, instead of helping them now, OSU lawyers have worked non-stop to dismiss the class action lawsuit that was filed on behalf of all victims.
Their arguments to dismiss are based on Ohio’s statute of limitations law that says adult sex abuse victims have just two years from the date they were abused to file a lawsuit.
These cases occurred in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.
Members of the Ohio General Assembly who are fed up with the University’s refusal to help Strauss’s victims have introduced legislation to change the statute of limitations.
Support HB 249
That’s why we need your help. Legislators need to hear from their constituents that House Bill 249 (HB 249) should be passed as soon as possible.
Please sign our letter of support here. You’ll be sending an unequivocal message to the University that “enough is enough.”
Strauss wasn’t just any doctor on campus – he was a team doctor who gave physicals to male athletes from 14 different sports like wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball and swimming.
Strauss also worked at the OSU health center and operated an off-campus clinic where he abused young men.
Most, if not all, of Strauss’s victims were teenagers who had just left home for the first time. Please click here for their stories but know, too, that some details are explicit. It simply boggles the mind to think that a well-respected institution like Ohio State would allow the type of behavior our victims describe to continue for 20 years.
These men deserve justice. Their voices deserve to be heard. And they need to be able to go forward with their lives knowing that Ohio State will never allow this to happen again.