Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Ohio State University have alleged that more than 20 school officials knew about the abusive behavior of former team doctor Richard Strauss but did nothing to stop him.
Strauss, now deceased, has been accused by dozens of male former Buckeye athletes of having groped them unnecessarily under the guise of providing medical care.
According to the Bowling Green Daily News, another 29 plaintiffs were added to pending lawsuits against Ohio State, which has sought to dismiss the suits. The school has, however, hired an outside law firm to investigate the ex-athletes’ claims. Ben Johnson, a school spokesperson, told the Daily News in an email that the school is seeking “to thoroughly and carefully pursue the truth about what happened during Strauss’ time at Ohio State and what university leaders at the time knew. We do not tolerate sexual misconduct and pledge to appropriately address the findings of the investigation.”
The newly added plaintiffs claim to have told coaches or athletics staff about Strauss’ inappropriate behavior, but claim that no action was taken. Plaintiffs reported having been kissed, massaged, asked to disrobe and even propositioned by Strauss. The number of former students who have made such claims against Strauss is at least 150. The complaints cover a time period from 1979 to 1997. Strauss committed suicide in 2005.
The Daily News reports that the U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights is examining how the school responded to complaints.