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Fact-gathering phase of investigation into Richard Strauss could be over by end of fall

Ohio State’s independent investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss could be over by the end of the fall semester, according to a letter from the law firm overseeing the investigation read at the Board of Trustees’ Audit & Compliance meeting Thursday.

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

Kathleen M. Trafford from Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur sent a letter updating the board of the progress made in the investigation, writing that over 335 interviews have been completed including 145 former students who reported firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct from Strauss. When the university last updated the public on the Strauss investigation, it said only that more than 100 former students alleging sexual abuse from Strauss had been interviewed. 

“In part because of the ongoing influx of witnesses and continuing searches for relevant documentation, there is no predetermined date by which the factual investigation will be completed,” the letter read. “That said, our best estimate is that assuming no additional avenues of the investigation emerge, the fact-gathering phase of the investigation could draw to a close in the fall of this year.”

Investigators have interviewed over 95 individuals who worked at the university during the time period including athletic department, medical center and student health center staff, as well as faculty. Former administrators, human resources professionals and legal counsel have also been interviewed.

Trafford also wrote that the investigative team at Perkins Coie has searched 525 boxes of records compiled from compliance staff and archivists. She also wrote that the number could be doubled over the next month, and that third parties not affiliated with the university could be reached out if they are believed to have any documents that could assist in the investigation.

University Provost Bruce McPheron, reading the letter aloud to the committee, had nothing further to add beyond the contents of the letter.

The timetable provided in the letter pertains just to the fact-gathering phase of the investigation, and Trafford wrote there is no date “by which the factual investigation will be completed” that is set in stone.

The letter recapped the progress made in the investigation so far, including writing that the investigative team is looking into whether high school students may have been abused by Strauss.

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