Approximately 300 accusers are now involved in suits against Ohio State in relation to Richard Strauss. | Credit: Lantern file photo

Approximately 300 claimants are now involved in suits against Ohio State in relation to abuse by former university physician and team doctor Richard Strauss, according to Wright and Schulte, LLC, the law firm representing 110 of the victims.

In May, an independent investigation found that university employees knew of Strauss’ abuse of at least 177 students and student-athletes during his tenure as early as 1979. The abuse was reported to the State Medical Board in 1996, but Ohio State allowed Strauss to retire in 1998 with emeritus with no action taken against him. 

The investigation, conducted by Perkins Coie LLP, began in April 2018 and analyzed 34,000 documents from archives and outside sources and conducted 600 interviews, U.S. attorney Markus Funk said in November 2018. The cost of the investigation and related litigation and mediation is approximately $7.8 million as of Aug. 1, according to university spokesperson Ben Johnson.

Ohio State faced its first class-action lawsuit regarding Strauss’ abuse in July 2018, in which the plaintiffs consisted of four anonymous former wrestlers, who alleged that high-ranking officials knew about Strauss’ actions and did nothing. Since then, Ohio State has run into multiple Strauss-related suits. The lawsuits are now in mediation.

Following the release of the report, University President Michael V. Drake expressed his apologies to the victims. 

“This issue was a place where the university fell short of its responsibilities to our students,” Drake said May 17. “We will go forward as we digest the report to do all that we can to be appropriate.”

Ohio State continues to offer free counseling to anyone impacted by Strauss’ actions. 

Strauss was an employee of the university from 1978 to 1998, during which he served as the team doctor for 17 men’s varsity sports and as a physician at the Student Health Center. 

According to the report, complaints against Strauss were not elevated beyond the Athletic Department and Student Health Services until 1996.  

Read more at about the investigation here.