Ohio State Investigation Finds Former Doctor Richard Strauss Sexually Abused At Least 177 Students, Including 153 Student-Athletes, from 1979 to 1998

By Dan Hope on May 17, 2019 at 11:53 am
Ohio State's University Hall

An independent investigation found that former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused at least 177 students during his employment at the university from 1978 to 1998.

The investigation report, released Friday by the university, concluded that Ohio State employees "had knowledge of complaints and concerns about Strauss' conduct as early as 1979 but failed to investigate or act meaningfully." 

Strauss, who was a team doctor for Ohio State wrestling and also worked with student-athletes from other Ohio State sports, died by suicide in 2005.

"On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse," Ohio State president Michael Drake said in a statement. "Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members."

According to the full investigation report, which can be read on Ohio State's website, 153 of the 177 identified victims were student-athletes, including 48 from wrestling; 16 from gymnastics; 15 from swimming and diving; 13 from soccer; 10 from lacrosse; seven each from hockey, track and field and baseball; four each from cross country, volleyball and fencing; three each from tennis and football; two each from cheerleading and golf. 

On Saturday, Dayton attorney Michael Wright told the Associated Press he's preparing a lawsuit against the school on behalf of more than 50 former Ohio State athletes, most of whom are former football players, including some who went on to play in the NFL.

The investigation was conducted by Perkins Coie, an international law firm, and cost Ohio State $6.2 million.

Ohio State said in its release on Friday morning that it is covering the cost of professional counseling services for all victims who choose to seek it, and the university encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse while at the university to report to the university's Office of Institutional Equity, the university's anonymous reporting service or law enforcement.

"As Ohio State Buckeyes, we all play a role in responding to and preventing sexual misconduct and abuse," Drake said in his statement. "We urge you to be an active participant here on campus and in your communities. It is our collective responsibility to remain ever-vigilant and work to ensure that this can never happen again."