Advocacy groups on Wednesday called for a federal investigation into Ohio State’s handling of alleged sexual abuse by former university doctor Richard Strauss.
The call for an investigation came in a letter from the National Women’s Law Center and 36 other organizations, such as the NAACP and National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, addressed to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus.
“We write to urge the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to initiate an investigation of Ohio State University’s failure to respond to a widely known pattern of alleged sexual abuse, spanning approximately two decades, by Richard Strauss, an athletic team doctor, and to conduct a systemic-wide investigation into the University’s response to sexual abuse,” the letter said.
The letter also pointed out a university’s responsibilities to its students under Title IX.
“Many student survivors are not aware of their rights under Title IX and how to seek help; many employees would rather look the other way than to acknowledge and deal with the abuse; and many institutions fail to take the steps necessary to ensure student safety,” the letter said.
Ben Johnson, Ohio State University spokesman, issued the following statement in response to the letter.
“It is critical to note that the concerns expressed by these groups in this letter relate to allegations of abuse during a period of time from 1978 to 1998, and the university of today shares the concern that individuals at the time knew and may not have responded appropriately, which is why this is a critical focus of the ongoing independent investigation,” the statement said. “We are committed to finding the truth of what happened during that time at Ohio State.”