Ohio State Finds Team Doctor Sexually Abused 177 Students

Ohio State Finds Team Doctor Sexually Abused 177 Students

That summer, Dr. Strauss was first suspended and then removed from his post, but he remained a tenured faculty member. Dr. Strauss then opened an off-campus clinic, where he continued to abuse students. He was still a professor emeritus at the time of his death, though Ohio State said Friday that it would begin the process of revoking that status.

This is the second time in less than a year that the Ohio State’s athletic department has faced scrutiny for failing to address its knowledge of abuse more forthrightly. Last summer, Urban Meyer, then the Buckeyes’ football coach, was found to have known for years that one of his assistants, Zach Smith, had been accused of assault by his former wife.

Meyer insisted that he had “always followed proper protocols and procedures” by “elevating the issues to the proper channels,” but he was placed on administrative leave during an investigation and suspended for three games for failing to appropriately manage an employee. In December, he announced his retirement.

In the Strauss report, investigators laid out how, starting as early as 1979, athletes reported coming in for treatment for a variety of ailments, including one who had a sore throat, only to find that Dr. Strauss would touch their genitals. The accounts were so numerous, the report said, that investigators elected not to include an exhaustive accounting of each one. But those that were included — a student who reported going for treatment of an ear problem and having his genitals fondled as part of the examination, a wrestler required to strip naked and walk across a room so Dr. Strauss could evaluate his gait — were clear red flags to the coaches and trainers later told about them.

“From roughly 1979 to 1996,” the report said, “male students complained that Strauss routinely performed excessive — and seemingly medically unnecessary — genital exams, regardless of the medical condition the student-patients presented.”

The report also said that in one case, when a student responded to abuse “with anger and some physicality,” Dr. Strauss accused the student of assaulting him.

An Ohio State investigation found that Dr. Richard Strauss, a team doctor employed by the university for two decades, sexually abused 177 men.CreditUncredited/Ohio State University, via Associated Press

Still, as late as 1995, Dr. Strauss received nothing lower than “excellent” on his performance evaluation.

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