Report Finds That OSU Knew About Dr. Strauss Sexual Abuse and Failed to Act
The long-awaited report into the sexual abuse committed by Dr. Richard Strauss has been released. The report cites 177 students that were interviewed and claimed to be sexually abused by Strauss. At least one of the students reported Strauss to OSU officials back in 1979. His report fell on deaf ears and Strauss continued to sexually abuse students for nearly 20 more years.
Investigators concluded that university personnel at the time had knowledge of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed to investigate or act meaningfully.
“Now that OSU has admitted to a monumental and fundamental failure to protect its students from sexual abuse, the taxpayers for the state of Ohio should not be responsible for the negligence of Ohio State. OSU is a unique state institution in that has its own financial assets that can pay for the harm caused to sexual abuse victims,” said Strauss victim and OSU alumnus Brian Garrett.
The student who reported the 1979 sexual abuse by Strauss said that in talking to investigators from Perkins Coie, it reminded him “how much it emotionally scarred me.” He says he buried his emotions over the years and that Strauss had a “huge negative impact” on his college experience. The report said survivors of Dr. Strauss molestations were “deeply distraught” and “painful memories” were re-awakened during the inquiry.
After reading the report, the 1979 victim says, “The recent Perkins Coie Report is 100% validation for not only me, but for hundreds of my fellow OSU athletes who were victims of Dr. Strauss’ continued sexual abuse. The fact that key OSU personnel received valid complaints about sexual misconduct and abuse by Dr. Strauss over several decades and choose not to respond in an appropriate manner or take any type of corrective action is very disappointing to say the least. Several former athletes, including myself, could have been spared decades of painful emotions and experiences that come with having been sexually abused. Hopefully, the results of the recent report can continue to help former OSU athletes, including myself, recover from being sexually abused.”
The claims about Richard Strauss involve athletes from at least 16 sports, plus his work at the student health center and his off-campus clinic.
“As a victim of OSU’s failure to protect me from sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss, I want my university to take full responsibility for the harm caused to me and my fellow alumni. Dreams were broken, relationships with loved ones were damaged, and the harm now carries over to our children as many of us have become so overprotective that it strains the relationship with our kids,” said Strauss victim and OSU alumnus Kent Kilgore.
“Despite the persistence, seriousness and regularity of such complaints, no meaningful action was taken by the university to investigate or address the concerns until January 1996,” the report said. That is well after at least 177 young students were sexually abused by Strauss.
The report was released by Ohio State less than one day after Ohio Representative Brett Hillyer introduced legislation to help Strauss victims.
The personal stories of many Strauss sex abuse victims are posted online.
The law firms continue their investigation into OSU’s role, and urge victims and witnesses to call (800) 474-5201.