Sex abuse investigation of deceased OSU doctor near conclusion

Investigators reported to Ohio State University trustees on Thursday that it has received 150 first-hand accounts of sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss, conducted 440 interviews and reviewed 34,000 documents.

Between 1979 and 1997, Strauss worked at OSU as a team doctor, faculty member and physician at the student health center. He died by suicide in 2005 at age 67 in California.

Perkins Coie, a law firm hired in April, said it is nearing the end of its investigation, including a look at who at the university knew what and when. It cannot compel former university employees to be interviewed.

“Because this is an ongoing, independent investigation, at this time we are unable to discuss details such as who has been interviewed,” said Ohio State University spokesman Chris Davey.

Related: OSU investigating deceased doctor for sexual misconduct

Twenty-nine plaintiffs are suing Ohio State in two lawsuits that allege the university failed to deal appropriately with Strauss and that more than 20 university officials knew of concerns but failed to stop him.

Related: Accusers: 20-plus Ohio State staff knew concerns over doctor

Perkins Coie is expected to deliver a final report at some point.

“We have engaged in regular communication with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office to keep the office apprised of the information we have learned over the course of the investigation,” said Markus Funk of Perkins Coie in a written statement released by the university.

Funk told trustees that the first-hand accounts from 150 former students have been consistent, including descriptions of the type of sexual misconduct that occurred.

Additionally, in August 1996, Strauss set up a private medical office in Columbus where individuals have reported additional sexual misconduct.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office hired Porter Wright Morris & Arthur as special counsel for OSU on the Strauss case. Porter Wright in turn hired Perkins Coie.

Ohio State and Porter Wright are working together to obtain Strauss’ file from the State Medical Board of Ohio, which is believed to be relevant.

The university has already paid out more than $1.5 million in legal fees associated with the investigation.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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