The Ohio State University announced on Friday that more than 100 of its former students reported firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct committed by Richard Strauss, a former university-employed physician from the mid-1970s to the 1990s. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
Ohio State on April 5 announced the initiation of the investigation into Strauss after former members of the men’s wrestling team came forward to report the conduct of the late physician.
The Lantern on April 6 reported how a former Ohio State athlete was sexually assaulted twice by Strauss during physical examinations in the fall of 1994 and 1995.
“I was always afraid. [Strauss] was the leading doctor on steroid use in the world, and I was always like, he could always say that medically there’s some reason that he needs to spend 15 minutes on my penis,” the athlete who wished to stay anonymous was quoted by The Lantern. “He could have said that and he’s dead now, but that’s what always scared me. But now I’m like, that’s crazy. Especially when that other doctor came in five minutes and checked me out.”
“Pretty much all the student-athletes knew this guy was a creep,” the athlete added.
After the allegations, the University hired the services of the independent investigators at Perkins Coie LLP, an international law firm with expertise in these matters.
The investigators reached out to 200 former student-athletes, coaches and others who may have been affected or may have had knowledge of the alleged incidents involving Strauss.
“We are grateful to those who have come forward and remain deeply concerned for anyone who may have been affected by Dr. Strauss’ actions,” Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “We remain steadfastly committed to uncovering the truth,” he added.
The allegations were reported confidentially to the investigative team by former students engaged in university athletics and by former patients of Student Health Services.
Independent investigators at Perkins Coie are also investigating whether, and to what extent, Strauss may have examined high school-aged students during his time at the university.
Meanwhile, the Ohio State has already communicated about the investigation, contacting more than 115,000 alumni and former student-athletes and is reaching an additional 147,000 people through university-wide notifications.