Former Ohio State University physician Richard Strauss sexually abused at least 177 students while he worked for the institution from 1978 to 1998, an independent investigation released by the university says.
The university says that the report from investigators has concluded that at the time of the incidents, Ohio State personnel knew of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct, but failed to investigate or act meaningfully. The report found that the university failed to report Strauss’ conduct to law enforcement. He was allowed to voluntarily retire in 1998 with emeritus status. Strauss died in 1998.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse,” Ohio State President Michael V. Drake wrote in a university-wide message today. “Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members."
Board of Trustees Chair Michael J. Gasser says Ohio State has been committed to an appropriate response for survivors since the allegations about Strauss were brought to the university’s attention in spring 2018.
Three groups of plaintiffs have sued the university, and Ohio State is participating in a mediation process. University officials said they will continue to work with survivors and through any process outlined by the court.
The report and associated public records are available on the university’s Strauss investigation website. The report contains explicit descriptions of sexual abuse.
Ohio State announced the independent investigation in April 2018 after receiving a report of abuse committed by Strauss. Investigators interviewed more than 500 individuals.
At the start of the investigation, the university referred the matter to the Columbus Division of Police, the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Each agency has been provided with a copy of the report.
The university announced earlier this year that it is providing counseling for those affected by Strauss’ actions. Ohio State has also centralized the reporting of sexual misconduct through the establishment of the Office of Institutional Equity.
The cost of the independent investigation to date is estimated to be $6.2 million.