Ohio State University now faces 14 lawsuits over allegations that former athletics doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused hundreds of male students over 20 years and the university failed to stop him.
In a new lawsuit filed this week, a man identified as John Doe 42 alleges he complained directly to U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, who was an assistant OSU wrestling coach at the time, and then head coach Russ Hellickson, saying that Strauss masturbated in front of him in the locker room showers.
The response from Jordan and Hellickson allegedly was, “Yeah, that’s Strauss,” according to John Doe 42, a college wrestling referee since 1990.
“Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any kind of sexual abuse, and if he had, he would’ve dealt with it. Multiple investigations have confirmed this simple fact,” said Ian Fury, spokesman for the Urbana Republican.
Strauss, who died by suicide in California in 2005, was employed at Ohio State from September 1978 to March 1998 as an athletics doctor, faculty member and student health center physician.
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.
According to the report: 22 coaches, 18 student athletic trainers and five team physicians across multiple sports confirmed they were aware of rumors or complaints about Strauss’ misconduct. At the Student Health Center, the director assigned “chaperones” to keep an eye on Strauss in the exam rooms. The report did not identify lower-level coaches and trainers by name.
Jordan was not among the 22 coaches, Fury said.
The allegations by John Doe 42 in the latest lawsuit come as Jordan’s profile rises in the U.S. House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Jordan is a staunch supporter and defender of the president.
KEEP READING: Jim Jordan says whistle blower must testify in public
Jordan, who has been in Congress since 2007, is the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and might be added to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which will run the public hearings tied to the impeachment inquiry.
The latest lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against Ohio State over Strauss represents 66 men.
The suit alleges older students told younger students to watch out for Strauss, giving him nicknames such as Dr. Jelly Paws, Dr. Nuts and Dr. Levi’s — because he wanted to get into their jeans.
Last month, the university issued its annual campus crime report and included 1,429 instances of fondling and 47 rapes attributed to Strauss over a 20-year period. The incidents were included in the recent report because the university was made aware of them in 2018 and 2019.
The lawsuit alleges that OSU’s “toxic culture … continues to thrive to this day.”
University spokesman Ben Johnson said: “Ohio State has implemented multiple additional safeguards in the 20 years since Strauss left the university and is committed to appropriately addressing Strauss’ abuse from decades ago. Richard Strauss’ actions are reprehensible, and we remain deeply concerned for all those who have been affected by Strauss.”
A federal judge has referred multiple lawsuits against OSU to mediation.
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