On May 29, 2019, 37 former male athletes from Ohio State University filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school. They are alleging that university officials did not stop Dr. Richard Strauss from sexually abusing students during physical examinations and other medical treatments.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Columbus in the U.S. District Court, only names one plaintiff. The other 36 are listed as John Does. The named plaintiff is a former OSU wrestler, Mike DiSabato. While Strauss committed suicide in 2005, he was never prosecuted for the alleged crimes.
According to the lawsuit, OSU was indifferent to the fact that Strauss sexually assaulted male OSU student-athletes and other undergraduates. It’s also being alleged that OSU official aided and abetted, and actively concealed Strauss’ predation.
It’s estimated that 177 male students were assaulted between 1979 and 1997. The abuse spanned 16 sports, as well as at the student health center and his off-campus clinic. According to the lawsuit, Strauss was assigned a locker in every room used by sports teams in Larkin Hall. Plaintiffs claimed he showered with the athletes and subjected them to long hernia checks.
The “John Does” provided testimony. According to John Doe No. 6, he was abused more than 20 times by Strauss and was once required to remove his pants while visiting the doctor for finger and eye injuries. John Doe No. 19 claimed experiencing harassment in Larkin Hall. When he complained to an assistant coach, he was told to “grow up.” A former team trainer, Bill Hill, also received complaints about Strauss, but did nothing.
Students were not the only ones to complain. According to the lawsuit, former wrestling coach Russ Hellickson complained to OSU officials about the environment in Larkin Hall and requested his team be moved to a different building. Administrators denied his request.
Complaints about Strauss can be traced all the way back to 1979, but university personnel never responded appropriately. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation from OSU because of their inaction and concealment.
Title IX lawsuits seek justice for victims of sexual assault and harassment in educational settings. At Thomas Law Offices, we do not take these matters lightly. If you or someone you know has a potential Title IX case, taking legal action can aid with recover and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. To learn more about your legal rights and options in Cincinnati, contact our office today.