For 20 years, Dr. Richard Strauss sexually abused at least 177 male students while he was employed by Ohio State from 1978 through 1998, a 232-page report released Friday revealed.
The independent investigation was announced in April 2018 and conducted by Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie. It found Ohio State personnel at the time had knowledge of concerns about conduct alleged against Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, but failed to look into the matter meaningfully.
Abuse by Strauss came to light earliest in 1979 during his role as a physician with the department of athletics and student health services. Strauss was reported to the State Medical Board of Ohio that same year, but Ohio State did not report his conduct to law enforcement.
The report said Strauss fondled students and made them strip during medical assessments, asking questions about their sex lives as the abuse increased through the year. He was allowed to voluntarily retire in 1998 with emeritus status.
Strauss served as the Ohio State wrestling team’s doctor while Rep. Jim Jordan was an assistant coach in the early 1990s. Jordan denies accusations that he knew of Strauss’ abuse but failed to report it during his time on the staff.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse,” Michael Drake, who has been Ohio State’s president since 2014, wrote in a university-wide message. “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.
“This independent investigation was completed because of the strength and courage of survivors. We thank each of them for their willingness to share their experiences.”