Five men who were sexually assaulted by Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss testified before the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee Thursday, appealing to legislators to approve House Bill 249.
The proposed bill would change Ohio’s statute of limitations so sex abuse victims of Dr. Richard Strauss can sue Ohio State for negligence.
An independent investigation into the Strauss allegations concluded that 177 students, mostly athletes, were sexually abused by Strauss over a 20-year period beginning in 1979.
The speakers included hockey player Roger Beedon, a 1990 graduate. He was recruited out of high school by the Montreal Canadiens, so Ohio State was supposed to be his training ground for the pros.
Beedon testified his hockey dream ended senior year when Strauss’ abuse escalated.
“My grades began to suffer senior year and so did my performance on the ice,” Beedon said. “As a result, the Montreal Canadiens did not offer me a contract to play. I truly believe Strauss ruined my chances to turn pro with the Montreal Canadiens.”
Beedon said he and another teammate reported their abuse to then-assistant athletic director Bill Davis, but nothing happened.
Speaking publicly for the first time, wrestler Dan Ritchie said that “all the coaches knew” Strauss was abusing athletes.
Ritchie was a scholarship athlete who quit wrestling and forfeited his scholarship to get away from Strauss’ abuse.
He tearfully recounted that quitting the team is “a point of contention with my father to this day.”
Ritchie went on to say, “There are literally hundreds of us who have suffered in silence for decades. By passing House Bill 249 you will give us a voice again.”
All the men have a shared goal of making sure what happened to them at OSU never happens again.
Wrestler Mike Flusche, who has been treated for depression, said his trust in people was “shaken” by Strauss’ abuse. He decided to come forward because he wants “to be able to tell my children to do the right thing. If something happens, you need to be able to speak up. It is not easy.”
Wrestler Shawn Dailey was abused several times but ended up quitting the wrestling team. “I never went back after my junior year physical,” he said. “It was quit or continue to be assaulted by Dr. Strauss, so I left.”
Dailey believes HB 249 will “make young men in Ohio safer.”
Two-time All-American wrestler Mike Schyck has children who attended sports camps at Ohio State and their safety was uppermost in his mind.
Schyck is speaking publicly about his abuse so people understand that there are “real people who are continuing to suffer and need help.”