Friday Ohio State University announced that 162 men will receive a payout of $40.9 million as a settlement for lawsuits against Richard Strauss, a longtime athletics doctor at the school, for sexually abusing them when they were students.
The investigation began in 2018 amid allegations against Strauss who had worked-as a doctor at Ohio State University from 1978-1998 and committed suicide in 2005 at age 67. Throughout his entire tenure, Strauss abused students and administration “failed to appropriately respond.”
The settlement was announced in March as part of a settlement to students who sued Ohio State University for its failure to do anything about the concerns brought to their attention about Strauss abuse.
The settlement funds to former students will be will “allocated on an individual basis based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor,” the school said. As part of the settlement terms, all plaintiffs will dismiss their claims against Ohio State.
“The university of decades ago failed these individuals – our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community,” Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today to work toward restorative justice. Our focus will always be on the survivors. We know it took great courage for them to come forward, and we are grateful.”
The allegations against Strauss began in 2018 and it was not until a month later when the investigative team “received confidential reports from former Ohio State varsity men student-athletes affiliated with cheerleading, fencing, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.”
The report conducted by an independant law firm concluded that at least 177 former Ohio State University students ahd been sexually abused by Strauss dating back as early as 1979,
“Students openly discussed Strauss’ examination methods or complained about his loitering presence in the shower and locker room, including in front of coaches and other Athletics Department staff,” the report says. “Many of the students felt that Strauss’ behavior was an ‘open secret,’ as it appeared to them that their coaches, trainers and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss’ activities, and yet few seemed inclined to do anything to stop it.”
According to the report, the University administration and staff “had knowledge of Strauss’ sexually abusive treatment of male student-patients as early as 1979” and that “complaints about Strauss’ conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department of Student Health until 1996.” There are reports that over 1500 students have made allegations against Strauss.