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Ohio State reaches nearly $2 million settlements with more victims of Richard Strauss' abuse

Dr. Richard Strauss was employed by the university as a physician from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University announced Friday that it has reached two settlement agreements of nearly $2 million with an anticipated 57 survivors in cases involving former wrestling team physician Dr. Richard Strauss.

According to a release from Ohio State, the university has also reached settlements with 289 survivors, which is more than half of the plaintiffs, for $59.79 million. The settlements come after the dismissal of the lawsuits by a federal court. 

Strauss was employed by the university as a physician from 1978 to 1998. He died in 2005.

Last year, federal Judge Michael Watson dismissed several lawsuits brought by survivors. Watson has said it’s clear Strauss abused hundreds of young men while Ohio State officials turned a blind eye, but ruled the legal window for such claims has passed. 

"Our deepest gratitude goes to the survivors of Strauss’ abuse for their courage in coming forward," said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. "They brought this terrible abuse to light, and the university is committed to continuing to work toward restorative justice."

The release states that under the terms of the two new agreements, an anticipated 57 survivors from seven lawsuits, represented by five law firms, have settled for $35,000 on average. 

The university adds that the participating plaintiffs will dismiss their claims against the school. As with previous agreements, the settlement does not prohibit individuals from talking about Strauss’ abuse publicly.

"Our clients are pleased to have resolved this matter and wish to express their support for all the victims of Richard Strauss," said John Camillus of the Law Offices of John C. Camillus LLC, and Ben Bianco and Mitch Schuster of Meister Seelig & Fein LLP.

Ohio State announced that it was launching an independent investigation after a survivor came forward in April 2018. Following law firm Perkins Coie’s year-long investigation, the university released a 180-page report in May 2019 detailing acts of sexual abuse against at least 177 former students. 

In addition, investigators determined that Strauss abused students for more than 20 years, and that the university administration failed to appropriately respond at the time.

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