COLUMBUS — Ten more former students have sued Ohio State University over alleged sexual misconduct by a now-dead team doctor, accusing school officials of facilitating abuse by ignoring complaints and requiring some athletes to get physicals from him to maintain their sports participation and scholarships.
The case filed Thursday is the third federal lawsuit brought by men alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss, who worked at Ohio State from 1978 until he retired in 1998.
“Beginning his very first year of employment at OSU — and spanning his entire two-decade tenure — Dr. Strauss preyed on male students, fondling, groping, sexually assaulting, and harassing them. He did so with OSU's knowledge and support,” the lawsuit said, adding that many of the students didn't speak up then because they were embarrassed or unsure whether it was abuse.
The lawsuit accuses the university of having “a culture of institutional indifference” about students’ safety and rights and failing to appropriately address Strauss’ behavior in violation of federal Title IX law, which bars sex discrimination in education.
An independent investigation is ongoing at Ohio State, which says it's committed to learning the truth.
The allegations that people at Ohio State didn't respond appropriately “are troubling and are a critical focus of the current investigation,” university spokesman Benjamin Johnson said.
All three lawsuits seek unspecified monetary damages, but unlike the first two, the newest case doesn't propose to represent all Ohio State students mistreated by Strauss.
“Our clients think that they're entitled to an individual response from the university and individual accountability,” said Jack Landskroner, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
The plaintiffs include Steve Snyder-Hill, who lodged a complaint in 1995 about being inappropriately touched by Strauss during an exam at the student health center and recalls being told that Strauss denied it. Ohio State has a record of that complaint and the response sent by the health center's director, who said it was the first such complaint he'd received about Strauss.
Another of the new plaintiffs, former wrestling team captain David Mulvin, said he was fondled by Strauss during an exam and complained back in the late 1970s to another Ohio State doctor, but nothing came of it.
The lawsuit describes the other plaintiffs — most of whom aren't named — as members of the tennis, soccer, basketball and track and field teams during the 1980s who repeatedly experienced sexual misconduct by Strauss. In some cases, it says they complained to their coaches or trainers about his behavior.
Strauss killed himself in 2005. His relatives have said they were shocked by the sexual abuse allegations against him.
His employment records released by the university referenced no reprimands or disciplinary action over any such concerns.
Since Ohio State announced the independent investigation in April after allegations were brought forward, more than 100 former students have provided firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss. The allegations range from 1979 to 1997 and involve male athletes from 14 sports, as well as his work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office.
Ohio State has urged anyone with information to contact the Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie's investigators, who are looking into the allegations, what university officials knew and how they responded to any concerns about Strauss. They also are reviewing whether Strauss examined high school students.
- Retired Ohio State coach asked Jim Jordan accusers to recant, report says
- Feds to review Ohio State response to claims of abuse by team doctor (UPDATED)
- Ohio State abuse case echoes Larry Nassar gymnast scandal at Michigan State
- Ohio State: 145 firsthand accounts of doctor sex misconduct
- Ex-employees: Doctor in Ohio State sex abuse inquiry aimed ads at students
- 7. Jim Jordan wins re-election as allegations mount of sexual abuse at Ohio State by team doctor
- Ohio State doc's accusers await probe findings a year later
- Ohio State wants info on '96 investigation into Richard Strauss made public
- Report: Ohio State team doctor abused 177, leaders knew (UPDATED)
- Attorneys: Ohio State needs to reveal who knew about abuse
- More Ohio State alumni sue school over abuse by team doctor
- Jim Jordan announces run for Speaker of the House (UPDATED)
- Local man tells of his time with Ohio State doctor accused of sexual abuse
- Was it sexual abuse? Ohio State athletes confront the past
- Ohio State has records of 1995 student complaint about doctor (UPDATED)
- Rep. Jim Jordan reportedly named in new Ohio State wrestler lawsuit
- APNewsBreak: Jordan interviewed in doctor sex abuse inquiry
- (UPDATED) Wrestlers sue Ohio State over doctor's sexual misconduct
- Former Ohio State athletes describe creepy people, lewd atmosphere
- Ethics review sought as ex-coaches at Ohio St. defend Jordan
- Former wrestlers say U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan ignored allegations of sexual abuse as Ohio State wrestling coach (UPDATED)
- Ex-athletes say Ohio State doctor groped, ogled men for years
- US Rep. Jim Jordan denies claims he knew of Ohio State sex abuse
- Law firm says it asked US Rep Jim Jordan for interview about team doc groping allegations
- APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in Ohio State University sex abuse inquiry