Ohio State University announced today that more than 100 former students have reported first-hand accounts of sexual misconduct by former school physician Richard Strauss.
Strauss worked at OSU from the mid-1970s to the 1990s and died in 2005.
In total, the university’s independent investigators have interviewed more than 200 former students and staff with information about Strauss. Investigators from the law firm Perkins Coie LLP plan to interview more than 100 additional people and remain in regular communication with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Ohio State said.
“We are grateful to those who have come forward and remain deeply concerned for anyone who may have been affected by Dr. Strauss’ actions,” Ohio State president Michael Drake said in a prepared statement. “We remain steadfastly committed to uncovering the truth.”
The allegations against Strauss date from 1979 to 1997 and were reported to the investigative team by former student athletes, including varsity men student-athletes in 14 sports and by former patients of student health services, according to OSU.
In August 1996, Strauss established a private medical office in Columbus outside the university, where individuals have reported that additional acts of sexual misconduct occurred. Perkins Coie is also investigating whether, and to what extent, Strauss may have examined high school-aged students during his time at the university, according to Ohio State.
Since the investigation began, Ohio State has contacted more than 115,000 alumni and former student-athletes and reached out to an additional 147,000 people through campus-wide notifications, according to OSU.
Michael DiSabato, a former Ohio State wrestler from 1986 to 1991, is one of the former OSU wrestlers who said he was sexually abused by Strauss. DiSabato, who has a history of business disagreements with Ohio State, said he decided to come forward after seeing the Larry Nassar case unfold at Michigan State University.
“When I saw those very, very strong young ladies get up and talk about what I consider some of the most heinous acts…I saw my life right there,” DiSabato said. “It didn’t make me come forward it required me to come forward.”
DiSabato was one of at least five former wrestlers who have accused U.S. Rep Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, of failing to report Strauss’ misconduct when he served as an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994. Jordan has denied the allegations to multiple news outlets.
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