Waiting for Justice

One year after filing lawsuit, Strauss sex abuse victims criticize Ohio State’s ‘doublespeak’

Men who were sexually abused by Dr. Richard Strauss are reflecting this week on the now one-year-old class action lawsuit they filed against Ohio State.

And they’re getting angrier every day.

“My lawyers have asked me not to comment on specifics of the June 15 mediation session,” victim Brian Garret said.

“But I can tell you that Ohio State continues to say one thing and do another. Many, many months ago they promised to do right by victims, but they’re still trying to dismiss our lawsuit. I call that doublespeak.”

Garrett says that’s why it’s imperative that House Bill 249 be approved by the Ohio Legislature.

HB 249 would change Ohio’s statute of limitations to allow the victims’ lawsuit to proceed since the statute on Strauss’ crimes expired years ago.

“HB 249 allows us to have our day in court,” wrestler Dan Ritchie said.

“I’d prefer to see OSU drop its opposition and negotiate in good faith, but I’m doubtful that’s going to happen.”

Wrestler Mike Schyck also supports HB 249, saying it’s the only way Ohio State will be held accountable.

“I often say I bleed scarlet and gray, but right now my blood is boiling because Ohio State hasn’t done anything to help victims heal,” Schyck said.

“On the one hand, you have President Drake apologizing to victims for the university’s failure to stop Strauss, but then the other hand is in court trying to dismiss our case because the statute of limitations has expired. That’s why HB 249 needs to pass.”

Strauss committed suicide in 2005. He stands accused of raping and sexually assaulting at least 177 Ohio State students, most of whom were athletes, over a 20-year period beginning in 1979.

OSU officials repeatedly ignored student complaints about Strauss, including a complaint lodged by hockey player Roger Beedon. He blew the whistle on Strauss in the late 1980s.

“I’m mystified by the university’s continued inaction,” Beedon said.

“We victims may have been silent for decades, but those days are over. We believe it’s our moral responsibility to make sure this never happens again.”

Beedon, Ritchie, Schyck, Garrett and other victims say the Strauss scandal has caused them to have many sleepless nights. Victims have also reported negative impacts at home and at work.

One Strauss rape victim who remains anonymous has considered suicide; another suffered decades of debilitating pain because Strauss assaulted him instead of diagnosing him.

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.