Ohio State’s Long History of Indifference to Sexual Misconduct Outlined in Dr. Richard Strauss Amended Lawsuit

The complaint alleges that Ohio State continues to neglect its duty to keep students safe from sexual misconduct.

Columbus, OH – October 26, 2018 —  Fighting back against Ohio State‘s efforts to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of sexual abuse victims, attorneys representing victims of Dr. Richard Strauss filed an amended lawsuit late Friday night claiming the University has a long and continuing history of being indifferent to sexual misconduct.

The amended complaint was filed electronically with the U.S. District Court’s Columbus Division and provides evidence that Ohio State officials were aware of the ongoing abuse.

The lawsuit says, “Complaints continued to pour in over the years, including to track and field coach Frank Zubovich, tennis coach John Daly, then-assistant athletic trainer (later Director of Athletic Training) Bill Davis, Director of OSU Health Services, Ted Grace, M.D., and Athletic Director Andy Geiger.”

The amended lawsuit also addresses the fact that OSU continues to resist taking action on the complaints.

“Case in point: it has been four years since OSU was specifically put on notice by the Department of Education that its culture fostered a sexually hostile environment for students, and yet no action has been taken to remedy the abuse suffered by its students, including the victims of Dr. Richard Strauss.”

In August 2018, the lawsuit states that the Office for Civil Rights announced it would be launching an investigation into OSU’s compliance with Title IX, and to inquire whether the University responds promptly and equitably to reports and complaints of sexual misconduct by former students.

Strauss victim Kent Kilgore, who swam for Ohio State in 1981-82, welcomed the news that the lawsuit is proceeding.

Kilgore joined the lawsuit after learning that Ohio State enabled Strauss’s behavior for 20 years.

“I had no idea it would go on for so long,” Kilgore said. “How could the University have allowed this? I get so angry just thinking about it and I feel guilty about not standing up. I should have.”

Kilgore is a physical education teacher and swim coach in Florida, where he tries to keep his swimmers safe.

“I have had team meetings that included parents and we discussed physicals and, in my way, I always influenced the parents to be present, no matter the age of their swimmer,” Kilgore said.

The amended lawsuit was filed after Ohio State moved to dismiss the original lawsuit and makes the University’s motion to dismiss moot.

Victims’ attorney Rex Sharp called on Ohio State to follow the example set by Michigan State, Penn State and USC, and make Strauss’s victims whole.

“These institutions have atoned by compensating their victims and making dramatic and long-lasting changes. But OSU continues to refuse, hoping to do a self-exam and declare itself healthy. OSU must be brought to justice,“ Sharp said.

One victim who can no longer afford to see his therapist is angry that the University refuses to recognize the impacts Strauss had on athletes in his care.

“I asked OSU last year for financial help so I could continue seeing my therapist, but I never heard back from them,” the anonymous victim said. “Then I gave my testimony to the University’s investigators from Perkins Coie and they reached out to OSU on my behalf. But all the University provided was a list of services for guys who live in Ohio.”

The University hired Seattle-based Perkins Coie to interview former athletes about Strauss’s abuse.

Ohio State’s attempt to dismiss the victims’ original lawsuit when the Perkins Coie investigation is far from complete is seen by many victims as a message that officials are not interested in helping the former athletes heal.

To read the stories of Dr. Strauss sexual abuse survivors, go to https://rightsforohiostatevictims.com/survivor-stories-osu-strauss-sexual-abuse/