Brian is one of hundreds of brave survivors who have come forward to demand accountability from OSU. As a result of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Dr. Richard Strauss, Brian Garrett continues to live with the ramifications of Ohio State’s failure to protect students from Dr. Strauss. Since the investigation started, Brian has frequently woken up in the middle of the night feeling paralyzed, like he is back on Dr. Strauss’s exam table in 1996. Brian still gets nauseous when he pictures what Dr. Strauss did to the patient on the exam table.
Brian began working for Dr. Strauss in the fall of 1996. On his third or fourth day working in the clinic, Dr. Strauss summoned Brian into the examination room while a male patient was lying supine on the examination bed. Dr. Strauss was standing over the patient. Dr. Strauss instructed Brian to come closer to the patient from the corner of the room.
Brian has frequently woken up in the middle of the night feeling paralyzed, like he is back on Dr. Strauss’s exam table in 1996.
Dr. Strauss removed the patient’s pants and began to heavily fondle the patient’s penis and testicles until the patient achieved an erection. The patient’s face turned bright red; Brian presumes the patient was embarrassed.
Dr. Strauss then instructed Brian to come closer. He did not explain why Brian needed to be closer to the patient.
Dr. Strauss continued to fondle the patient until the patient ejaculated. Brian was shocked by what he witnessed. Dr. Strauss then instructed Brian to exit the exam room to retrieve tissues so that Dr. Strauss could clean up the ejaculation.
When Brian subsequently asked Dr. Strauss about what happened, Dr. Strauss replied that he was “testing for premature ejaculation.”
Dr. Strauss removed the patient’s pants and began to heavily fondle the patient’s penis and testicles until the patient achieved an erection…
Dr. Strauss continued to fondle the patient until the patient ejaculated.
Brian recalls feeling uneasy about the incident, but, given the nature of the clinic and his own limited medical experience at the time, he did not recognize that it was inappropriate.
Later that same evening, Dr. Strauss asked Brian if he had any ailments. Brian complained to Dr. Strauss that he was experiencing severe heartburn. Dr. Strauss offered to examine and treat Brian.
Dr. Strauss had Brian lie down on the examination table and began touching and pressing on Brian’s abdomen while asking him questions about any pain he was experiencing. Dr. Strauss then unexpectedly removed Brian’s pants and started fondling his genitalia. Dr. Strauss explained that he was “just checking for some things.”
Dr. Strauss had Brian lie down on the examination table and began touching and pressing on Brian’s abdomen while asking him questions about any pain he was experiencing. Dr. Strauss then unexpectedly removed Brian’s pants and started fondling his genitalia.
Brian was in shock. After the exam, he left the clinic and never returned. Brian did not report the incident at the time, believing his experience was an isolated incident. He also feared repercussions for his graduate school application, his newly accepted job at the University and further career if he caused problems for a university doctor held in high esteem by Ohio State.
Ohio State Allows Dr. Strauss to Sexually Abuse Students
Ohio State hired Dr. Strauss in 1978 to serve as team doctor for various athletic teams. There were complaints about his conduct as early as that first year of his tenure, and throughout the twenty years he was employed by Ohio State. Between approximately 1991 and 1995, OSU allowed Dr. Strauss to see student patients at the on-campus student health center. However, when Brian was recruited by Dr. Strauss in the Spring of 1996, Brian had no idea that Dr. Strauss had just been removed from the student health center following a student complaint. A fellow nursing student and roommate was approached by Dr. Strauss at Larkins Hall to recruit for administrative staff in the off campus clinic. The roommate told Brian that a university doctor was opening an off-campus men’s health clinic and was hiring male nursing students to staff the clinic as office staff. Still employed by the university as an assistant professor and a team physician for 14 different sports, Dr. Strauss’s reputation from student-athletes was unknown to Brian.
After he was removed from the student health center, Dr. Strauss proceeded to set up a clinic in an office building less than two miles from campus. There, he opened “Men’s Clinics of America,” a men’s health clinic that offered “Prompt Treatment of Common Genital/Urinary Problems.”
To continue his pattern of sexually abusing students, Dr. Strauss, with the approval of Ohio State University, began to solicit students for sexual health treatment by running advertisements in the OSU student newspaper, the Lantern. Dr. Strauss even offered student discounts.
When Brian interviewed with Dr. Strauss for the office position, he offered Brian the opportunity to gain experience in a medical office and a recommendation from a highly-credentialed doctor, which Brian hoped would lead to acceptance into OSU’s graduate nursing program. Brian took the job.
At the clinic, Brian witnessed OSU athletes given priority and seen on a walk-in (unscheduled) basis. For OSU athletes, there were no intake charts completed per Dr. Strauss’s request, and while Dr. Strauss saw other patients with the office staff, he saw OSU athletes alone. OSU athletes comprised approximately 25% of the patients at the clinic.
The Effect of Ohio State’s Failure to Protect Brian
Brian continues to experience difficulties pursuing professional and relationships due to issue related to trust. His trust of others and of institutions, such as Ohio State, has been greatly impacted. At the same time, although Brian is a medical professional, he now struggles with the trust of other medical professionals. He is currently paying for his own counseling sessions to deal with these issues brought about by Dr. Strauss.
Brian graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1996. He attended the graduate nursing program (nurse practitioner major) at OSU in 1997 and 1998. He completed his Master of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Cincinnati (switched majors to nurse anesthesia as OSU did not offer this major) in 2003. He received his doctorate degree from Otterbein University in 2014. He is also pursuing his MBA at Otterbein University (he has currently put that degree on hold due to the stress of the Dr. Strauss investigation). He is currently employed as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.