House speaker to Ohio State: ‘Do the right thing’ for victims of team doctor

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder said he’d like to see Ohio State University “do the right thing” for victims of sexual predator Dr. Richard Strauss, who worked as a team doctor and student health physician for 20 years and is accused of abusing hundreds of male students.

Householder, R-Glenford, said, “I don’t think there is any advantage to the university waiting.”

Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said: “We are actively engaged in mediation, we are committed to a fair resolution, and we hope to achieve that resolution as soon as possible.”

The university is facing 14 lawsuits related to Strauss.

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Householder’s comments come as Strauss’ victims press state lawmakers to adopt House Bill 249, which would open a look-back window for civil lawsuits against the university over its failure to stop Strauss. “We wish Ohio State would step up and take care of their obligation,” said Householder on Tuesday to news reporters.

He declined to speculate how much money should be paid to victims.

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In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million into a fund for the victims of Dr. Larry Nasser, who was convicted on federal child pornography charges and state sexual assault charges.

Strauss, who died by suicide in California in 2005, was employed at Ohio State from September 1978 to March 1998 as an athletics doctor, faculty member and student health center physician.

In May, Ohio State released a 232-page report by Perkins Coie, a Seattle-based law firm, hired by the university for $6.2 million to conduct an independent investigation into Strauss’ misconduct and find out who at the university knew about it. Dozens of coaches, medical personnel and administrators knew of complaints about Strauss, but they failed to act on it or report it to police, the report concluded.

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According to the report: 22 coaches, 18 student athletic trainers and five team physicians across multiple sports confirmed they were aware of rumors or complaints about Strauss’ misconduct. At the Student Health Center, the director assigned “chaperones” to keep an eye on Strauss in the exam rooms. The report did not identify lower-level coaches and trainers by name.

Last month, the university issued its annual campus crime report and included 1,429 instances of fondling and 47 rapes attributed to Strauss over a 20-year period. The incidents were included in the recent report because the university was made aware of them in 2018 and 2019.

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