Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Heile was a member of Gov. Mike DeWine’s working group that reviewed the state Medical Board’s actions in the Dr. Richard Strauss sexual abuse cases.
Heile, who heads Prosecutor Michael Gmoser’s Child/Sexual Assault Division, was one of only two prosecutors selected in the state to sit on the committee.
The 16-member panel was tasked with reviewing the complete and unredacted version of an investigative report to see how the state Medical Board handled allegations that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 Ohio State students from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The group issued its report recently, which prompted DeWine last week to order the Medical Board to review 25 years of sex abuse cases.
“If you read the report from Ohio State University and you see that people had information and at least within that report there’s no record of a thorough investigation then, it just makes you very sad for those victims,” she said. “And it makes you think and wonder are there others, is that even something that’s happening today, and I think it could be.”
Heile said the experience taught her that these matters must be investigated and pursued with vigilance. She she plans to make sure no one in Butler County dismisses allegations out of hand.
“I always now with officers (say) it may not seem you have something there that will be a crime, but it’s worth looking into, always,” she said. “Now that’s also in a perfect world recognizing budget constraints and time constraints and we’re all very busy, but these are important cases.”
Heile, who was named the 2017 Meritorious Prosecutor of the Year by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association, was appointed to the task force on the recommendation of her boss and several Ohio Department of Public Safety staff, according to DeWine’s press secretary Dan Tierney.
Gmoser said she was a natural for the assignment.
“She is highly analytical, extremely well written and I thought that she would be a perfect match for the organizational aspects of this committee,” Gmoser said. “And the governor agreed.”
Heile said she made important contacts while working on the panel since May when it was convened and she gained a a lot of insight and perspective.
“I think it was a great benefit to really think how we in our office can have best practices, in how we are investigating child and adult sexual assaults,” she said. “I think we’re always trying to do better and do more, so I hope from that experience we’re able to do that.”