Ohio State University Sued Over Handling Strauss Abuse Complaints
Ohio State University has long been questioned over its response to sexual assault complaints filed by its students against a former doctor. A new lawsuit alleges the university of not doing enough to prevent incidents of sexual assault from happening on campus.
The latest suit comes two months after the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched an investigation into the university’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against physician Richard Strauss.
The office of civil rights, which is overseeing the enforcement of Title IX rights, is probing whether the university responded “promptly and equitably” to hundreds of complaints filed by its former students.
Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, had been reported by more than 100 former students for sexual misconduct.
The new lawsuit raises serious questions over the university’s response to student complaints about Strauss’ conduct.
“For 40 years — from 1978 until it undertook an investigation in 2018 — the university has been deliberately indifferent to the safety of its student body by, as detailed in this complaint, failing to investigate the many complaints of Dr. Strauss’ misconduct and harassment,” the lawsuit reads.
“Had it met its obligation to do so — an obligation that is not only social and moral but also legal — the assault, molestation and suffering of the plaintiffs herein would have been prevented.”
The university, meanwhile, is reviewing the latest lawsuit and has declined to comment over its investigation into the allegations, according to The Columbia Dispatch.
“When the University of today received reports of sexual misconduct, we immediately and unambiguously took action to get to the truth and live up to one of our core values — that we do not tolerate sexual misconduct,” spokesman Benjamin Johnson said in a written statement.
On April 5, the university announced the initiation of the investigation into Strauss, after former members of the men’s wrestling team came forward with allegations.
As a part of the probe, the university has already contacted more than 115,000 alumni and former student-athletes and is in middle of reaching 147,000 people through university-wide notifications.