Ohio State reaches additional settlements in Strauss cases
185 total survivors have now settled their claims
The Ohio State University today reached further settlements in cases involving Richard Strauss.
Strauss was employed by the university from 1978 to 1998 and died in 2005.
In May, Ohio State announced the establishment of a $40.9 million Qualified Settlement Fund to be distributed to 162 survivors with whom the university had reached a settlement in 12 lawsuits.
Ohio State today reached a $5.8 million settlement with 23 additional survivors in five lawsuits related to the sexual abuse committed by Strauss. These additional settlements average approximately $252,000 per survivor, as did the first settlement of the 162 survivors. To date, the university has now settled with 185 survivors, represented by 10 different law firms, for a total settlement of $46.7 million. No taxpayer, tuition or restricted donor funds are utilized for these settlements.
“The university has condemned Strauss’ reprehensible conduct and expressed its appreciation to survivors for coming forward,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. “Our work toward restorative justice continues.”
The new settlements announced today will be administered as were the first: Funds will be allocated on an individual basis based on the harm and damages experienced by each survivor. A special master, independent of the university and experienced in the area of sexual trauma claim evaluation, will oversee the settlement process.
In addition, all of the participating plaintiffs will dismiss their claims against the university.
“Our ongoing negotiations with Ohio State have resulted in a fair settlement process that acknowledges the harm inflicted on individual survivors and provides a pathway to healing,” said Rick Schulte, lead negotiator for the plaintiffs’ firms in both settlements. “Once again, Ohio State has stepped forward and done the right thing.”
Ohio State 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 plaintiffs, including a monetary resolution.
“Nothing can ever fully repair the damage suffered long ago and trauma the victims continue to experience today,” Attorney General Dave Yost said. “The current leadership at Ohio State should be commended for embracing its responsibility to do the right thing by those victimized by Richard Strauss.”
The Strauss matter was brought to light after the university launched and announced publicly an independent investigation of Strauss’ abuse after one survivor came forward in April 2018. After a year-long investigation by the independent law firm Perkins Coie, the university released a 180-page report in May 2019 that detailed acts of sexual abuse against at least 177 former students. The report concluded that university personnel at the time failed to adequately respond to or prevent Strauss’ abuse. Ohio State also released all relevant public records on the university’s Strauss investigation website.
As part of the Perkins Coie investigation, the university reached out broadly to 115,000 alumni and former student-athletes who attended Ohio State during Strauss’ employment and to 147,000 current students, faculty and staff to inform them of the investigation and encourage them to share any information they had with the independent investigators. The university kept the community informed throughout the course of the investigation, creating a website for documents and updates, providing periodic public reports on the progress and publishing the findings of the independent investigation and all relevant public records online.
Since February 2019, Ohio State has covered the cost of professionally certified counseling services and treatment for anyone affected by Strauss, whether counseling and treatment occurred in the past or is needed at any point in the future. To connect with these services, or if individuals are at all uncertain about how to proceed and have questions, please contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 or visit https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/osu/.
The university continues to commit resources to prevent and address sexual misconduct. Read more on these efforts — including policies, programs, staffing and tools — here.
Anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct while at Ohio State — and the incident involved another student or university employee — is encouraged to report to the Office of Institutional Equity, the university’s anonymous reporting service or law enforcement.
Those who have experienced sexual misconduct outside of Ohio State should contact local law enforcement. Additional resources include:
- If you reside in the Columbus, Ohio, area, advocates from SARNCO can assist you in reporting, explain the investigation process and support you. SARNCO’s confidential, 24/7 support hotline is 614-267-7020.
- If you do not reside in the Columbus area, you can contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline, a confidential, 24/7 resource, at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). You can also visit the website to chat live with a representative. Advocates will help you find a resource in your community.
Current Ohio State students seeking additional support services can contact the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service while faculty and staff can access support resources through the Employee Assistance Program.