DeWine to OSU on sex abuse case: “This needs to get settled”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and House Speaker Larry Householder said Tuesday that Ohio State University needs to settle lawsuits with victims of Dr. Richard Strauss, the late doctor accused of sexually abusing male students over two decades.

The governor said he has asked for status updates from university officials and won’t involve himself in negotiations but “the university should get it settled.”

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“I’ve become very frustrated and very disappointed in the fact that these parties have not been able to come together,” said Householder, R-Glenford. “I think it’s time for the university to step up and do the right thing.”

This week, the speaker called for more hearings on House Bill 249 that could expose the university to lawsuits over Strauss by opening the look-back window for civil lawsuits against OSU over its failure to stop Strauss.

Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, worked as a team doctor and student health care center physician from September 1978 to March 1998.

The university now faces 17 lawsuits involving more than 350 litigants.

RELATED: House speaker to Ohio State: ‘Do the right thing’

University spokesman Ben Johnson said this week, “Ohio State has led the effort to investigate and expose Richard Strauss’ abuse and the university’s failure at the time to adequately respond to or prevent it, and we are committed to reaching a monetary resolution as soon as possible, which we are actively pursuing through the mediation process that is underway in federal court.”

In May, Ohio State released a 232-page report by Perkins Coie, a Seattle-based law firm, hired by the university for $6.2 million to conduct an independent investigation into Strauss’ misconduct and find out who at the university knew about it. Dozens of coaches, medical personnel and administrators knew of complaints about Strauss, but they failed to act on it or report it to police, the report concluded.

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