An Ohio State University team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students over nearly two decades and was never disciplined at the US school despite reports of his actions, an investigation found Friday (May 17).
Richard Strauss, who died in 2005, committed the abuse while employed at the school from 1978 to 1998, and university staff were made aware of claims as early as 1979, according to a 12-month independent probe. The probe looked into misconduct allegations from 1979 to 1997 reported by former students — 150 of whom reported first-hand accounts of sexual abuse committed by Strauss. In all, more than 440 former students and university staff believed to have information related to allegations involving Strauss were interviewed for the investigation.
“Students openly discussed Strauss’ examination methods or complained about his loitering presence in the shower and locker room, including in front of coaches and other Athletics Department staff,” the 180-page report states. “Many of the students felt that Strauss’ behavior was an ‘open secret,’ as it appeared to them that their coaches, trainers and other team physicians were fully aware of Strauss’ activities, and yet few seemed inclined to do anything to stop it.”
Of the 177 victims, 153 were student athletes or students affiliated with athletic programs at Ohio State, the report states. They included 48 members of the wrestling program, 16 from gymnastics, 15 from swimming and diving, 13 from soccer, 10 from lacrosse and seven each from hockey, track and field and baseball.
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