Dozens more men are suing Ohio State over the university’s failure to stop sexual abuse and misconduct decades ago by team doctor Richard Strauss.
They echo claims filed previously by over 400 men, many of whom allege they were groped during required medical exams or while seeking treatment for unrelated ailments. New claims from at least 41 plaintiffs were filed in two federal lawsuits on Friday and one on Monday, which marked two years since a report from a law firm investigation concluded university employees were aware of concerns about Strauss as early as 1979 but didn’t stop him.
“With this suit, plaintiffs seek to hold OSU accountable for its failures, and to ensure that something like this can never happen again,” lawyers wrote in one of the new cases.
Strauss, who died in 2005, has been accused of abusing young men throughout his two decades at the school.
The university has publicly apologized, promised a “monetary resolution” for survivors and already reached nearly $47 million in settlements for 185 plaintiffs. It also recently announced an individual settlement program that could help resolve more claims from five of the remaining lawsuits.
No one has publicly defended Strauss since alumni began stepping forward in 2018 with allegations about the doctor’s misconduct.
Until then, and even until results of the law firm’s investigation made national headlines in 2019, many of the men thought their experiences were isolated, didn’t recognize those as sexual assault, or didn't know that school officials had been aware of concerns during the doctor's tenure, the newest plaintiffs said in their court filings.
Among them is an Ohio man who alleges he was repeatedly fondled by Strauss during exams when the plaintiff was a high schooler and his coach brought him to the university campus to practice as a prospective athlete for its swimming team. The alleged abuse occurred between 1978 and 1981, in the doctor’s earliest years at the school, according to the complaint.
The newest plaintiffs, most of whom filed anonymously, also include former athletes in football, basketball, wrestling, ice hockey, track and field, lacrosse, baseball, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, as well as a former student who was treated by Strauss at the health center in 1996.
Asked whether the school had comment on the new cases, a spokesperson referred back to its previous statements.