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Former Ohio State wrestler seeks settlement from University

One of the first alleged victims of sexual abuse from a former Ohio State doctor said in an email sent to investigators that he hopes to “reach a negotiated settlement” to compensate the victims, according to an email received by The Lantern.

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

Former Ohio State wrestler Michael DiSabato sent an email on June 26, 2018, to Kathleen M. Trafford, an employee of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, the investigative team working with Ohio State on the allegations of sexual abuse by former team physician Richard Strauss. The Lantern obtained this email from Bret Adams, a sports agent in Columbus who sent the email out to multiple news outlets.

Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey told The Lantern the email “appears to be a copy of an email that the university received on June 26,” but that Ohio State had no further comment.

In the email sent to Trafford, DiSabato said it was not the intent of the victims to damage the Ohio State brand and cause a “public relations nightmare.” As a result, he said the victims are “purposely controlling” the information released to prevent further damage to Ohio State.

He added that everyone hopes to resolve this as soon as possible and that closure is “our number one concern.”

Included in the email was a video with testimony from former Ohio State national champion Mark Coleman, former wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson and Brian Garrett, a nursing student at Ohio State who claimed to have worked with Strauss at his private corporation. DiSabato said the video was produced for review by Ohio State’s Board of Trustees, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine and other “statewide leaders.”

In addition to the video, DiSabato goes on to further lay out a timeline of events, beginning in 1978 when he said Ohio State wrestlers first came forward to University officials and to then-head wrestling coach Chris Ford.

He goes on to say that based on testimony from athletes in “at least fifteen varsity sports,” he estimated Strauss “sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1500 / 2000 athletes at OSU from 1978 thru 1998.” He added that Strauss also assaulted high school students — with the youngest being 14 years old — during research authorized by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus and Ohio State.

DiSabato also said complaints were brought to the Ohio State athletic director — then Andy Geiger — and that athletes requested more security at Larkins Hall — where the wrestlers and other athletes showered and were allegedly abused by Strauss. He said Geiger dismissed their requests.

“HE KNEW AND DID NOTHING,” DiSaboto wrote in all caps.

The email then discussed meetings DiSabato had with current Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith in November 2015 where the two talked about player safety and how athletes have dealt with depression. A year later, he said he informed athletic department officials about the improper use of former player images around the athletic facilities.

Ohio State has said anyone with information relating to Strauss or the investigation should contact investigators at osu@perkinscoie.com.

2 comments

  1. Screw this guy. If OSU pays one cent to this extortionist I’ll be ceasing my donations.

  2. It seems likely there will be settlements given what happened at Penn State and Michigan State. The fact that the ex-wrestling coach admitted he knew the doctor was too hands-on at weigh-ins does not look good. He also admitted that he told the doctor not to take an hour to shower in the wrestling team shower room because it made the wrestlers uncomfortable. He should have just told the doctor not to shower there at all. The doctor wasn’t working out. He had no reason to need a shower.

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