Thirty-seven former Ohio State University student-athletes — including more than two dozen football players — filed suit against OSU on Wednesday in U.S. District Court, claiming the university turned a blind eye to sexual misconduct by physician Richard Strauss for 19 years.
The lawsuit alleges that Strauss abused the students during pre-season physicals and sexually harassed the men in locker rooms and showers at Larkins Hall, where many teams had practice facilities.
“On information and belief, OSU assigned Strauss a locker in every room used by teams based in Larkins Hall,” the complaint says.
It also says some wrestlers were abused or assaulted as many as 50 times. Former wrestler Michael DiSabato is the only named plaintiff while 36 others are “John Does,” including 26 former football players.
Ohio State University President Michael Drake apologized for the university’s failings and expressed gratitude to survivors of Strauss’ abuse for having the courage to share their accounts with investigators.
The latest lawsuit against OSU is being handled by Dayton area attorney Michael Wright, who represents the John Crawford family in the high-profile Walmart shooting case.
The university is facing multiple lawsuits from former students who claim OSU knew of Strauss’ misconduct and failed to act.
Attorneys hired by OSU released a 232-page report earlier this month that said Strauss sexually abused at least 177 former students and that rumors and complaints about his misconduct when unaddressed in any meaningful way for 17 years.
According to the investigation: 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.
First hired in 1979, Strauss retired in March 1998 and the university gave him emeritus status, despite documented complaints, a referral to the state medical board and discipline. He died by suicide in 2005 in California.
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