100 ex-students report sex misconduct by now-dead team physician

Kristopher Nichols
July 23, 2018

In August 1996, Strauss established a private medical office in Columbus outside the university setting, where individuals have reported that additional acts of sexual misconduct occurred.

The scandal has had implications for OH congressman, U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, whose tenure as an assistant wrestling coach at the university overlapped with Strauss' time there.

"We are grateful to those who have come forward and remain deeply concerned for anyone who may have been affected by Dr. Strauss' actions", Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said in the statement.

Jordan went even further, though, repeatedly labeling as liars the former wrestlers - reports say up to 11 at recent count, many of whom acknowledged having been personally sexually assaulted - who say he had to have known. Since then, the investigation has continued to expand, with athletes from 14 men's varsity sports and former patients of Student Health Services reporting allegations about Strauss.

The university has called on former students to provide information relating to Strauss and his time at Ohio State. He declined to comment through a spokesperson there.

"The head coach Jordan worked for, Russ Hellickson, admits he knew Dr. Strauss was acting inappropriately with wrestlers on his team and confronted him about it", Talking Points Memo reported last week. Athletes who alerted officials about Strauss felt their complaints were futile and that the doctor was above the law in the eyes of the university, according to the lawsuit filed Monday.

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The plaintiffs in the case, listed only as "John Does", seek punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and other relief as the court deems proper.

In a complaint filed Monday, four John Does - formerly a part of the wrestling team - claim they were "sexually assaulted, battered, molested, and/or harassed" by the team doctor in the 1990s.

Strauss joined Ohio State in 1978 and retired as a professor in 1998.

Strauss killed himself in 2005.

The university in April announced that independent investigators were looking into allegations that Strauss fondled and groped male athletes during physical examinations and medical treatment. He left Ohio State not long after the university held a hearing on complaints against him in 1997, but the school took no legal or disciplinary action, the lawsuit said. "Every single coach has said the same thing I have", Rep. Jordan claimed. The suit said the wrestlers offered drawings of potential changes to the wrestling and gymnastics locker room that would enhance safety, but Ohio State did nothing.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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