In mid-November, 150 victims came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by former Ohio State University doctor Richard Strauss. The allegations cover 1979 through 1997, while Strauss was a team doctor who examined young athletes for decades as a sports-medicine researcher.
For victims of sexual assault or abuse, filing a civil lawsuit against their alleged abuser and any institution responsible, which employed the perpetrator, is one way to obtain justice. These allegations are similar to those in accident, injury, malpractice, negligent security, premises liability, etc. cases, in which negligence and/or intentional conduct caused harm, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, in many cases.
Those who have come forward with allegations against Strauss describe being fondled and ogled during medical exams, groped before physicals, and even badgered to go home with the doctor. They also describe the doctor engaging in blatant behavior, such as showering with the athletes and/or Strauss simply staring at them while they showered. These ex-students also reported informing other doctors and coaches at the school that it was going on, and no one taking action against Strauss as a result. One of these previous coaches was Jim Jordan—now a powerful congressman from Ohio—who has responded that he was never aware of any abuse.
According to media reports, Strauss’ employment records do not include any notes indicating that students had complained of sexual misconduct. Now many are left wondering whether it would have been possible for Ohio State officials to be unaware of the issues, especially given the hundreds of people who have come forward with allegations.
Independent investigators are now looking into the allegations against Strauss, related work he did at his off-campus medical clinic and student health services, and who knew what, where, and when. In addition to Ohio State, Strauss previously worked at Harvard University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, and the University of Washington.
These allegations echo the scandal involving former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who abused hundreds of women while working for Michigan State University. The University recently agreed to pay a $500 million settlement, and Nassar was sent to prison.
If you live in Ohio and have been injured by the reckless actions of someone else, contact Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC. We have represented many throughout Toledo and surrounding areas, helping clients obtain the financial compensation they need so that they can recover and move on.
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