Bill’s Story

The name “Bill Smith” is a pseudonym for the OSU alumnus profiled in this article.

Bill Smith was the first member of his family to attend college. He arrived on campus in 1994 and immediately got a part-time job to help pay his tuition and expenses.

At age 19, Bill saw Dr. Richard Strauss for treatment of a condition that was later diagnosed as Muckle-Wells Syndrome.

He knew something was “off” the first two times he saw Dr. Strauss. On the third visit, Bill was given a shot that knocked him out for several hours. He woke up naked and “just got out of there. It was scary. I knew something was really wrong.”

It would be years before Bill would see another doctor.

About five years ago, Bill’s rheumatologist said Strauss could have saved him a lifetime of agony by prescribing Prednisone.

“Or, if I hadn’t been molested, I would have probably tried to go someplace else,” he said. “The Prednisone would have stopped the hearing loss and would have stopped almost all the symptoms. The only one that my rheumatologist said he couldn’t be 100 percent sure about is not having children, being sterile. But he says that one would have probably been taken care of also.”

Bill says the Muckle-Wells and, by extension, Dr. Strauss, have ruined his life.

“Life hasn’t really been very enjoyable,” he said. “I’ve lost jobs because of it, I have lost a marriage because of it. It’s very hard because of the irritability, the hearing loss, mood swings, joint pain, hives. It can be miserable and lonely.”

Bill is now receiving medication that helps him feel normal.

Even so, he’s angry that the University allowed Strauss to abuse him and other young men for 20 years.

“I can’t describe how pissed off I get about it,” he said. “Try to put yourself in the shoes of a 19-year-old who is still under the belief that all doctors are going to do their jobs. They’re not supposed to do things like this, they’re supposed to help the students.”

Bill said Strauss’s abuse “crushed” his long-held dreams about Ohio State.

Rafael believes that one reason Ohio State hushed up the Strauss scandal is because of the power it wields.

“OSU is probably one of the top universities in the world,” he said. “Their reputation is sacred in Columbus – they probably thought something like this couldn’t really happen at Ohio State, so they didn’t deal with it.”

But now it’s time to pay the piper.

“I don’t really care about getting any money, but I truly think they should compensate everyone in the lawsuit. They ruined a lot of lives,” Rafael concluded.

Support survivors of Dr. Strauss sexual abuse by sharing your thoughts with the Board of Trustees. Email board members at: board@osu.edu

WRITE TO LEGISLATORS

Help these victims obtain the justice they deserve by filling out the below form and submitting a letter to your legislators.

Write to Legislators
Dear Members of the Ohio General Assembly,

I’m writing today in support of HB 249. The statute of limitations needs to be changed in order to help Dr. Richard Strauss’s Ohio State victims.

Most of Strauss’s victims were teenagers whose parents entrusted their futures to Ohio State.

But the University failed these young men by repeatedly ignoring complaints that Strauss was a sexual predator who was abusing students.

Two independent investigations have revealed decades of institutional betrayal by the University. It’s abundantly clear that the University won’t voluntarily right this wrong, so I encourage you and other Legislators to enact and support legislation to support HB 249 and amend the statute of limitations for Dr. Strauss abuse victims.

It is the moral obligation of all Ohioans to make sure sexual abuse victims have the right to pursue justice and hold our institutions accountable.