Five more former Ohio State students have filed a lawsuit against the university claiming that former Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused them and that the university was aware of the abuse.
Three former student-athletes and two former student health center patients, all listed as “John Doe” to protect their identities, filed a lawsuit Friday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio stating that they were abused by Strauss and that administrators, coaches, physicians and other employees were informed about the abuse during Strauss’ 20-year tenure.
“Instead of taking action to stop Dr. Strauss’s serial abuse, OSU not only turned a blind eye to it, but facilitated the abuse,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs seek “systemic changes” in responding to sexual misconduct in order to keep students safe as well as compensation for the injuries inflicted by “OSU’s failure to take appropriate action to stop Dr. Strauss’ known sexual predation, in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” according to the filing.
Strauss was employed at the university from 1978 to 1998, during which he served as team doctor for 17 men’s varsity sports and as a physician at the university’s student health center. He retired in 1998 and died by suicide in 2005.
The lawsuit provides details about the abuse and harassment the new plaintiffs endured during physical exams, including sexualized questions, inappropriate comments about their bodies and touching of their genitalia. All five plaintiffs are represented by Jason Cox of Barkan Meizlish, an Ohio law firm.
The filing also details the alleged culture surrounding Strauss’ abuse, stating that one coach would threaten athletes with a visit to Strauss if they did not listen as well as nicknames student-athletes, coaches, trainers and athletic directors supposedly had for Strauss that reflected his behavior.
University spokesman Ben Johnson said in a statement that the university is reviewing the new legal finding and will respond appropriately.
“The independent investigation remains one of the university’s highest priorities and once it is completed the university will share the findings,” Johnson said.
University President Michael V. Drake told The Lantern in March that the investigation into this misconduct is expected to be completed soon.