A victim of former Ohio State physician Richard Strauss filed a complaint against the university claiming it violated public records laws.
Stephen Snyder-Hill filed the complaint against Ohio State May 15 in the Ohio Court of Claims stating that the university “continues to ignore” his repeated requests for information and for delays in receiving the documents he requested, according to the complaint.
“I watched the university of 2019 do the same thing to me that the university of 1995 did,” Snyder-Hill said. “They have to face the court of claims for how they withheld that information for five months because the law says that it has to be a reasonable time period and there’s no provision in the law that allows them to just withhold stuff to control a narrative.”
University spokesperson Ben Johnson said in an email the university had no comment on the complaint.
According to the complaint, Snyder-Hill filed a public records request July 16, 2018, for any documents related to a complaint he made against Strauss in 1995. He received five pages July 23 but said in the complaint the university should have turned over 16 additional pages.
In December 2018, Snyder-Hill filed a public records request for any “documents, recordings, communications, photographs, notes, records, emails, letters, reports, summaries, findings, corrective action, or other information” related to medical examinations, office visits, correspondence or meetings with or about Strauss and Snyder-Hill from 1994-96.
This request was fulfilled May 17, 2019. In the complaint, Snyder-Hill said he received his records 39 minutes before the findings of the year-long independent investigation into Ohio State’s knowledge of Strauss’ abuse conducted by Perkins Coie LLP were released to the public.
“There is no prevision (sic) that allows them to ignore public information requests to satisfy their decision to control the narrative to the public,” the complaint reads. “This is illegal, immoral and unethical.”
Strauss was the team doctor for 17 varsity sports and a physician at the university’s Student Wellness Center from 1978-98. An investigation began after Mike DiSabato came forward in 2018 about being sexually abused by Strauss during his time as an Ohio State wrestler from 1987-91.
In May 2019, the Perkins Coie LLP investigation found that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 students and student-athletes during his tenure and that Ohio State failed to act. The university reached a $40.9 million settlement with victims in 12 of 23 Strauss-related lawsuits against Ohio State in early May. Snyder-Hill was not part of the settlement.
Strauss died by suicide in 2005.
Jack Long contributed to this story.