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Ohio State will pay $40.9 million to settle some of the abuse lawsuits against doctor

May 10, 2020
Richard Strauss, who worked as a doctor for the Ohio State’s athletic department until 1998, has been accused of abusing hundreds of students.

Ohio State University will pay $40.9 million into a fund for 162 victims of sexual abuse by Richard Strauss, who worked as a doctor for the school’s athletic department until the late 1990s.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the university and the plaintiffs in 12 federal lawsuits announced a settlement two months ago, but the total damages in the agreement weren’t disclosed until a new filing in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

“The university of decades ago failed these individuals—our students, alumni and members of the Buckeye community,” university President Michael Drake said in a news release. “Nothing can undo the wrongs of the past, but we must do what we can today toward restorative justice.”

How much money each individual will receive is to be determined.

“Funds in the settlement will be allocated on an individual basis, based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor,” according to the university’s release.

Investigators hired by Ohio State concluded last year that Strauss sexually abused at least 177 students between 1979 and 1998, and that university personnel repeatedly failed to act.

Lawsuits filed against the university indicate that the number of victims was much higher. At least 360 plaintiffs have filed 23 lawsuits against the university over Strauss’ abuse and Ohio State’s lack of action.

After his retirement, Strauss moved to California, where he died by suicide in 2005.

Lawyer Scott Smith, who represents 85 plaintiffs in one of the unresolved lawsuits, called the settlement amount “woefully inadequate.”

He said the amount pales in comparison to the $500 million settlement by Michigan State University for 332 victims of Dr. Larry Nassar, who sexually abused female gymnasts at the school.

In its Friday news release, Ohio State says it “continues to participate in good faith in the mediation process with the survivors involved in the remaining lawsuits, and remains committed to a resolution with the plaintiffs, including a monetary resolution.”

The university says no taxpayer, tuition or restricted donor funds will be used toward the settlement fund.

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