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Sexual assault investigation into former Ohio State doctor widens

Richard Strauss, a former wrestling team physician and an assistant professor of medicine, is being investigated by Ohio State on allegations of sexual misconduct. Credit: Lantern file photo

Student-athletes from eight Ohio State sports have come forward with confidential reports regarding former physician Richard Strauss since the university began its investigation in April. Strauss worked at the university from the mid-1970s to the 1990s.

A news release from Ohio State Thursday stated that the team hired to investigate Strauss has received the reports from former varsity male student-athletes from football, wrestling, volleyball, swimming, ice hockey, fencing and cheerleading. The release did not specify how many student-athletes came forward.

Thursday’s release also stated the law firm leading the investigation has changed. The university originally said Bricker & Eckler LLP would be in charge of the investigation, but “a legal conflict precluded its involvement.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has appointed Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP as legal counsel for the University. Porter Wright has hired Perkins Coie LLP to conduct the investigation.

The scope of Strauss’ alleged misconduct has continued to widen since the university announced the investigation in April. A former athlete who said he sexually assaulted by Strauss told The Lantern that Strauss also was a team doctor for the baseball and fencing teams, and Thursday’s announcement shines further light on just how widespread Strauss’ misconduct could be.

The former Ohio State varsity athlete said he was sexually assaulted twice by Strauss during physical examinations during the fall of 1994 and 1995. In the spring of 1997, the athlete was approached to testify in a hearing against Strauss. Despite not participating, he said he knew of at least three former athletes that attended a hearing.

Ohio State had announced on April 5 that it was beginning its investigation into the allegations about Strauss. According to the press release, the allegations pertained to his time working with athletes and “other acts of sexual misconduct.”

Anyone with information pertaining to the investigation about the incidents should contact the investigators at osu@perskinscoie.com.

Correction at 5:20 p.m. on May 3: The email address in the bottom of the story has been corrected to osu@perkinscoie.com. 

Correction at 5:54 p.m. on May 3: The story originally said the former athlete was sexually assaulted by Strauss. It has since been changed to “said he was sexually assaulted.”

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